Liberal MPs hold meeting with Mustafa Dzhemiliev in Ottawa
Ottawa – Last week Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre) hosted a meeting of human rights champion, former political prisoner during Soviet times, Ukrainian parliamentarian and Chairman of the Mejlis (Parliament) of the Crimean Tatar People Mustafa Dzhemiliev with Liberal MPs Honourable Bob Rae (Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs), Todd Russell (Official Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Affairs), Glen Pearson (Official Critic for International Cooperation), and Dr. Bernard Patry (Vice Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee).
During the meeting on Parliament Hill, Dzhemiliev discussed the Crimean Tatar people’s challenges in preserving their national identity and language, as well as geopolitical, economic, employment, and religious issues in the region.
Commenting on his meeting with Dzhemiliev, Official Opposition Critic Bob Rae stated, “Mustafa Dzhemiliev’s contribution to his people and to all the people of Ukraine has been outstanding, and the struggle for equality for the Crimean Tatar people is one the world needs to support.”
During the meeting, Mr. Dzhemiliev briefed the MPs on efforts undertaken by the Crimean Tatars to preserve their culture and language, and their journey from internal exile during Soviet times back to their ancestral homeland during the 1990s.
“Mr. Dzhemiliev’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. The quest for justice and equality for the Tatar people of Crimea requires the support of nations like Canada and others in the international community,” stated MP Todd Russell, Official Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Affairs.
“Having worked on human rights and development projects in Sudan in the 1990s, I very much admire the perseverance against great odds shown by Mr. Dzhemiliev in his efforts to preserve the cultural heritage and a living space for the Crimean Tatar people,” said MP Glen Pearson, Official Opposition Critic for International Cooperation.
In his comments at the conclusion of the meeting MP Dr. Bernard Patry, Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, thanked Mr. Dzhemiliev for “traveling to Ottawa to share his personal story, the experiences of the Crimean Tatars, as well as briefing Members of Parliament on the geopolitical situation and political state of affairs in that part of the world.”
The Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis came to Canada at the invitation of MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj who personally arranged Mr. Dzhemiliev’s travel to Canada and organized his various meetings in Ottawa and Toronto.
“This past summer, I had the honour of meeting this legendary human rights activist. His heroic efforts to bring the Tatars back to Crimea came up directly against the impenetrable wall of Soviet brutality. At that time we discussed the rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatars, the upsurge and dangers of Russian chauvinism which was fanning separatism in Crimea, and the menace to peaceful co-existence in the region that this threatened,” said Wrzesnewskyj.
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For further information: Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP (613) 947-5000
Attached photographs: 1) Liberal Members of Parliament meeting with the Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Mustafa Dzhemiliev on December 7, 2010, left to right: Rustem Umerov (Mr. Dzhemiliev’s Assistant for Economic Affairs), MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, MP Honourable Bob Rae (Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs), MP Todd Russell (Official Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Affairs), Chairman Mustafa Dzhemiliev, MP Glen Pearson (Official Critic for International Cooperation), MP Dr. Bernard Patry (Vice Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee), and Arsen Zhumadilov (Assistant to Mr. Dzhemiliev); and 2) Liberal Members of Parliament engaging Chairman Mustafa Dzhemiliev in discussion during the meeting of December 7, 2010.