Baird Issues Statement on 70th Anniversary of Deportation of Crimean Tatars

May 18, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“On behalf of all Canadians, we join the Crimean Tatar community in commemorating the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s horrific mass deportations to Central Asia and Siberia. This forced exodus resulted in severe hardship for hundreds of thousands of people and appalling loss of life.

“Ceremonies in Kyiv and Crimea today underscore that we cannot forget the lessons of history and must stand up to Russian aggression. President Putin’s attempt to annex Crimea means that the quarter-million-plus Tatars living in Crimea today are not able to live freely and in peace.

“We strongly condemn the intimidation of peaceful demonstrators in Crimea by Russian security forces, who also prevented many Tatars from entering Simferopol, including community leader Mustafa Dzhemilev.

“Canada continues to call for protection of the rights of all communities in the Crimean peninsula, including Crimean Tatars, who continue to speak out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine.”

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