May 18, 2019
Ottawa, ON – Kerry Diotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach, released the following statement regarding the 75th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars:
“Seventy-five years ago today, the Crimean Tatar families lived through the most horrific chapter in their nation’s history. Over 200,000 innocent Crimean Tatar men, women and children were forcibly deported from their ancestral homes in Crimea to Central Asia and Siberia. Joseph Stalin was the architect, and the secret police (NKVD) was the executor, of this horrific act of genocide, which deprived the Crimean Tatars of their homeland for decades.
“For weeks the Crimean Tatars were locked in cattle cars on their way to their place of exile. Thousands perished during the trip due to severe malnutrition, disease and lack of medical assistance. But this was not enough for Stalin. His brutal Soviet regime banned survivors from speaking their language, practicing their religion and passing their culture to their children. Despite all the atrocities committed against them, the Crimean Tatars persevered in exile and managed to return to Crimea, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Today once again, the Crimean Tatars face grave challenges. The Putin regime’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 again presents a real threat to the survival of the Crimean Tatars and others on the peninsula. People are denied their human rights and are targeted for their culture, religion and language by the local illegal authorities.
“Canada’s Conservatives have always supported the Crimean Tatar people, as part of our principled support of Ukraine. In 2016, I was proud to introduce Bill C-306, which would have once and for all officially recognized the Crimean Tatar deportation as genocide. Sadly, this Liberal government opposed recognizing the facts of this brutal chapter of history and overwhelmingly voted against the bill.
“We will always stand united with Crimean Tatars against Russia’s persecution and illegal occupation. We will never forget the victims of the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars, and will work to ensure proper recognition of this inhumane atrocity.”