Maria Tomak — Head of the Crimea Platform Department at the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Formerly, Ukrainian human rights activist, journalist, researcher, coordinator and co-founder of the Media Initiative for Human Rights.
Having started from volunteering for the Euromaidan SOS initiative during Euromaidan, Maria moved on to actively participate in documenting human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s seizure of Crimea and delivering information on them both in Ukrainian society and the international community. In the summer of 2014, Maria started dealing with the cases of Ukrainian citizens arrested by Russian Federation on political motives by Russia, and further was a coordinator of the LetMyPeopleGo campaign to free them, including by participating in the court hearing in Chechnya as one of the witness of the defence of Ukrainian prisoners Klykh and Karpiuk. Today, Maria focuses on cooperating with Ukrainian structures to advocate for the release of Ukrainian illegally held by Russia. She is a co-founderш of the NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights and conducts journalistic investigation human rights violations related to Russian aggression from both sides of the conflict. As well, Maria is a co-author several documentaries dedicated to the bloodiest days on Euromaidan and the war in Donbas. In 2017 she has received a national human rights prize for the personal contribution to the defending of human rights in Ukraine. She has significant experience in international advocacy at the level of international intergovernmental organizations and particular governments. In 2020 she has obtained the Master of Jurisprudence degree from the School of Law of Loyola University Chicago (Rule of Law for Development Program, located in John Felice Rome Center, Italy). In recent years Maria used to cooperate with USAID Human Rights in Action Program as an advocacy expert.
In January 2022, Maria shifted from NGO to the governmental sector. Currently, she is the head of the Crimea Platform Department at the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea which acts as the national Office of the Crimea Platform.
The Office of the Crimea Platform was established by the Decree of the President of Ukraine of August 13, 2021 as a structural unit of the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The establishment of the national Office of the Crimea Platform was highlighted in the Joint Declaration of the International Crimea Platform adopted by representatives of 43 states and 4 international organizations and institutions. In close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is aimed at providing the analytical, advisory and expert support to ensure the participation of Ukraine in the Crimea Platform. Being a “Crimean Hub” in Kyiv, the Office is intended to combine the efforts of various displaced Crimean authorities and the Crimea Platform Expert Network. The Office of the Crimea Platform is also the cultural space in Kyiv downtown where art pieces are exhibited.
Key activities of the Office of the Crimea Platform include:
– Monitoring and analysis of the situation on the occupied peninsula regarding human rights, economic and environmental situation, cultural heritage, etc.
– Promoting the implementation of the Strategy for Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol approved by the Decree of the President of Ukraine of March 24, 2021
– Communication with the citizens of Ukraine from Crimea
– Cooperation with the interfactional association “Crimea Platform” at the Ukrainian parliament. Key legislative priorities for 2022 include adoption the law on social and legal support of illegal detainees (adopted on first reading so far); measures to support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea; determining the Status of the Crimean Tatar People; amendments to the legislation aimed at: enhancing the effectiveness of investigations of crimes committed in Crimea, protecting the rights of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, elimination of shortcomings in the Ukrainian sanctions legislation
– Development and implementation of projects and programs (jointly with the relevant authorities and the Crimea Platform Expert Network) aimed at maintaining the connection between mainland Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens in occupied Crimea.