NP-UN National Affairs desk.
On December 11, Etobicoke Centre MP and Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group Borys Wrzesnewskyj delivered a statement on the floor of Canada’s House of Commons commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Crimean Tatar Qurultay.
The Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People is a national congress and the highest representing plenipotentiary body of the Crimean Tatar people. At the Qurultay the Crimean Tatar people are represented by delegates elected by Crimean Tatars and members of their family regardless of their nationality permanently residing on the territory of Ukraine as well as those Crimean Tatars and members of their family who are citizens of Ukraine regardless of their place of residence.
Wrzesnewskyj’s House of Commons statement read as follows:
“Mr. Speaker, in December 1917, 100 years ago, the Crimean Tatars proclaimed their Democratic Republic and launched their national assembly, the Qurultay.
“The Bolsheviks abolished this state and in 1944 Stalin attempted ethnocide through the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars into Central Asia. Almost half perished during the deportation, however, starting in 1989 Crimean Tatars began returning home, and under independent Ukraine were provided citizenship and a formal right of return.
“Sadly, history seems to be repeating itself. With Russia’s 2014 military invasion and illegal occupation, the Crimean Tatars are once again facing disappearances, the murder of leaders, exile, and collective repression and persecution.
“As we commemorate the centenary of the Crimean Tatar Qurultay, let us reaffirm that Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea and that Crimea is Ukraine.”
Wrzesnewskyj has frequently spoken out against Russian state-sponsored human rights abuses directed against the Crimean Tatars and has hosted meetings in Ottawa and his riding with their legendary leader Mustafa Dzhemilev who spent 18 brutal long years in Soviet gulags for demanding the right of return for his people.