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By signing on 1 August, 1975 the Helsinki Final Act which concluded the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe ( https://www.osce.org/mc/39501?download=true ), European countries recognized the inviolability of their frontiers and committed themselves to refrain from any actions that constitute the threat or use of force, as well as recognized inadmissible making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or other direct or indirect measures of force in contravention of international law. The countries of Europe proclaimed the principle that no such occupation or acquisition would be recognized as legal.

Events in the Crimea in February-March 2014 and the occupation of the territory of Ukraine by the Russian Federation is the first example of large-scale violations of the provisions and principles of the Final Act in Europe. The occupation and the subsequent annexation of Crimea presented the world with a new challenge. The situation in the region is fundamentally different from the unrecognized territories like Transnistria, Abkhazia, North Ossetia, where external interference is expressed mainly in support of the newly emerged regimes. Some similarities can be observed in the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus. However, the current level of economic and informational development of the society, the degree of mutual integration and many other similar aspects make Crimea stand out among other cases. All this, as well as the fact that the occupation of Crimea happened without active military clashes and preceding internal conflicts in that territory, has put before the world a number of new questions that still remain to be answered.

In order to analyze the current situation, to find solutions to emerging issues and to ensure observance of human rights in the context of the occupation the efforts of the team of human rights activists, experts and scholars from various organizations were united. Namely, the effort of Regional Centre for Human Rights ( http://rchr.org.ua/ ), Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (http://helsinki.org.ua/), Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv ( http://uail.com.ua/ ) and Ukrainian Association of International Law (http://uail.com.ua/ ).

The review, prepared by joined efforts of our team and invited experts, aims to help the international community, human rights organizations, international and national bodies and structures as well as anyone who wants to understand the human rights situation in Crimea.

Each review has a theme and includes a number of analytical articles, references to international regulations and standards relating to the chosen themes as well as the legislation adopted in respect of Crimea by Ukraine, the Russian Federation and illegally established authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol. The review also includes an analysis of prospects for potential complaints or those already filed with the European Court or other international human rights bodies. International law assumes that the occupation is a temporary regime. We are also convinced that the need for such reviews is temporary. Looking to the future with hope, we believe that the main task of these materials should be apprehension of what had happened and generalization of experience in order to prevent further human rights violations in Crimea or other regions of the world.

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