Human Rights in the Context of Automatic Naturalization in Crimea

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This report by lawyers of the Open Society Justice Initiative examines in depth the implications for the population of the Crimean peninsula of the mass imposition of Russian citizenship that followed Russia’s seizure of the territory from Ukraine in 2014.

The citizenship provisions were contained in a March 18, 2014 Treaty on Accession between the Russian Federation and the “Republic of Crimea.” Russian citizenship applied automatically, with a limited and time-bound option to reject citizenship. As a result, those who rejected Russian citizenship and “retained” Ukrainian citizenship, and those without residence registration in Crimea at the time of occupation, became “foreigners” in their own country.

They have been at risk of unlawful expulsion ever since and subjected to discrimination by the de facto authorities, all in gross violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The report analyzes automatic naturalization as part of a wider campaign to unlawfully seize the Crimean peninsula and to subjugate its people.

The report draws on the extensive experience of the Open Society Justice Initiative, which has worked on issues of citizenship and equality since 2003, including the pursuit of litigation before international human rights tribunals.