Member of Parliament – Etobicoke Centre News Release • News Release
For immediate release
August 11, 2010
Wrzesnewskyj meets with Head of the Mejlis of
Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzemiliev
Ottawa – Yesterday, Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre) met in Simferopol, Crimea, with the revered figure among Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzemiliev, Chairman of the Mejlis (parliament) of the Crimean Tatar People, Ukrainian Member of Parliament, former political prisoner who served 18 years in Soviet gulag camps, and recipient of the UN Nansen Prize for championing the cause of human rights.
“It was a great personal honour for me as a Canadian parliamentarian to meet the legendary human rights activist Mustafa Dzemiliev. His heroic efforts to bring the Tatars back to the Crimea came up directly against the impenetrable wall of Soviet brutality. During our meeting we discussed the rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatars, the worrisome upsurge and perils of Russian chauvinism which is fanning the flames of separatism in Crimea, and which poses a significant threat to peaceful co-existence in the region,” said Wrzesnewskyj.
Dzemiliev was repeatedly arrested and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for his views and activities during Soviet times. While Dzemiliev was a political prisoner, Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident and later Czech President, and Andrey Sakharov, the nuclear physicist turned dissident, spoke out in defence of the Crimean Tatar figure. Through his policies, the national movement of Crimean Tatars has preserved its democratic policies of peaceful co-existence within Ukraine.
“As the founder of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, and having personally seen and experienced the death and destruction of civil war, including in Georgia, in 1994, I thought it was important for me as a Canadian parliamentarian to show solidarity with the Tatars of Crimea by meeting with Mr. Dzemiliev. This is especially timely considering the disturbing signs of increased activities by Russian secret security forces on the Crimean peninsula fanning the flames of chauvinism, hatred and the alleged arming and training of militias (“cossack formations”) in the region. Concurrently, this month Crimea has seen the high profile media visits by Russian Prime Minister Putin, Moscow Patriarch Kirill and other high ranking Russian authorities. As a proponent of human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, non-violence and democracy, Mustafa Dzemiliev, and the authority with which he speaks on behalf of Crimean Tatars, is seen as a bulwark against those proposing chauvinism, extremism and violence. As recently as August of last year, senior advisor to the Russian Embassy in Ukraine Vladimir Lysenko, was expelled by the former Ukrainian presidential administration for his clandestine work in an alleged plot to assassinate Dzemiliev,” stated Wrzesnewskyj.
Attached: Photograph of the Chair of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzemiliev (left) and M.P. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (right).
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For further information: Borys Wrzesnewskyj, M.P. (613) 947-5000