Crimea’s indigenous Tatar population has faced persecution and adversity for generations. Today, as Crimea is held under Russian occupation, new hardships have forced Crimean Tatars to make their voices heard. When Kremlin forces illegally seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, Moscow began rapidly moving hundreds of thousands of Russians to the territory, instituted discriminatory laws that targeted the predominately Muslim Tatars, and displaced approximately one-sixth of the almost 300,000 Tatars in Ukraine.

One of the biggest challenges for Crimean Tatars now is the documentation of violence and rights violations against those living under Russian occupation—a police state, where affiliation with religious groups and the reporting of abuse leads to numerous Tatars being imprisoned by authorities. Crimean Tatars are fighting to be heard—is anyone listening? How can Kyiv and the international community step in to support this marginalized and targeted ethnic minority? How are Crimean Tatars standing against their occupiers?

Ayla Bakkalli, US representative and executive member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and representative of the Crimean Tatars at the United Nations; Emine Dzhaparova, the first deputy minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine; and Rustem Umerov, a member of parliament in the Verkhovna Rada, join to discuss the issues facing Crimean Tatars today. Terrell Jermaine Starr, Eurasia Center fellow and senior reporter at The Root, moderates.

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