Mr. Speaker, in 1783, Russia first occupied Crimea and so began a tragic history of 160 years of occupation and multiple ethnic cleansings of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people.
On May 18,1944, Stalin ethnically cleansed all 240,000 Crimean Tatars to central Asia. Over 100,000 perished. Among the survivors was the legendary Mustafa Dzhemilev, who spent 18 brutal years in Soviet gulags for demanding the right of return for his people.
Two years ago, Russia once again militarily invaded and annexed Crimea, and Mustafa has once again been banned from returning to his ancestral homeland. Putin's Crimean terror includes disappearances, torture of detainees, and summary executions. Twenty thousand Crimean Tatars are now refugees. May 18 commemorates the anniversary of the mass ethnic cleansing and genocide of Crimean Tatars, and on this date we will welcome the legendary Mejlis leader Mustafa Dzhemilev to Ottawa.
Slava Krymskym Tataram.