On 15 February, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba took part in a conference initiated by Canada, at which 52 states approved the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations.

Canada’s initiative brings together countries that respect human rights and adhere to international law, aiming to develop effective mechanisms to combat illegal imprisonment to achieve political goals.

In his address to the conference participants, Kuleba drew attention to an acute problem of arbitrary arrests in the temporarily occupied Crimea and certain areas of Donbas. “Currently, about 100 Ukrainians are illegally held behind bars in Crimea and in the Russian Federation. Politically motivated persecution of the citizens of Ukraine on fabricated charges has become a routine practice of the occupying power. We view the Declaration adopted today as an important additional tool to put pressure on Russia to release Ukrainian political prisoners and prevent further human rights violations in the occupied territories,” he said.

The Minister drew attention to the creation of the Crimean Platform as a site for consolidating international efforts to de-occupy Crimea and invited the conference participants to take part in its inaugural summit this year.

“International solidarity has played a significant role in our effort to achieve the release of dozens of political prisoners from Russian captivity. We should remain united and report loudly on the arbitrariness that is still going on. Consolidated action and joint pressure remain key factors in the further release of our political prisoners,” Minister Kuleba said.

Background: In October 2020, Canada initiated the convening of an international conference to adopt the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. The initiative aims to develop a global collective response to coercive diplomacy, when states make arbitrary arrests of people for political gain in interstate relations. The initiative has already been supported by 52 countries, including Ukraine.

Natalia Tolub

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