Recent developments in Ukraine - the annexation of Crimea by Russia - inevitably raise the separatism issue in all its aspects. Separatism is an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country, recognised with its borders as a United Nations member State. Nations’ right to self-determination cannot be confused with the provocations of certain ethnic minority communities, provocations which attack the territorial integrity of a country by speculatively asserting a violation of these groups’ rights.
Separatism has become a common phenomenon, especially in the ex-Soviet territories. Frozen conflicts, originating from separatist tendencies and wars, have led to the creation of separatist territories not recognised by the international community: Transnistria in the Republic of Moldova, South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, and recently Crimea in Ukraine. As a result of the armed conflict in Ukraine the security and territorial integrity of a number of ex-Soviet States are in danger.
In these circumstances one can but conclude that certain national laws contain gaps with regard to preventing and combating separatism. This situation has to be remedied. The Parliamentary Assembly should recommend the amendment of prosecution laws, so as to prohibit organisations and political parties that promote separatism and penalise persons who incite the public to separatist actions that attack the territorial integrity of a country.