Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 01:51:00 GMT
/** headlines: 105.0 **/
/* Written 4:56 PM May 19, 1996 by glas:mishaj in igc:env.siberia */
Discrimination against the Indigenous People of the North in the Russian Federation
From the Russian Federation Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, No. 34. 18 March 1996
Socioeconomic conditions among indigenous people of the north have declined dramatically in recent years. In addition to long standing issues, there are new problems associated with high levels of unemployment, deteriorating living conditions, increased sickness and limited educational opportunities. These issues have long been discussed among indigenous peoples and many now believe that the only way to resolve these troubling issues is through direct negotiation with the Russian Government.
A document has been written by indigenous social organizations and movements entitled
"DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE NORTH IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION"
We request that you distribute this document to the local mass media. Letters of response should be sent to the President and Government of the Russian Federation, to the State Duma and to the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation as well as to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East.
For your information: this statement was sent to the President and Chairperson of the Government of the Russian Federation, to the Chairperson of the Federation Council and*State Duma of the Russian Federation.
A Statement by Social Organizations and Movements of Indigenous People of the North
We, the directors and leaders of various social and public
interest groups representing indigenous peoples of the north in
the Russian Federation, in connection with the acceptance of the Russian Federation as
a member of the European Council and with
the adoption of the Charter of the European
Council and General Agreement on Privileges
and Immunities of the European Council and
its protocols, the subsequent signing of the Convention on
Defense of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms,
November 04, 1950 and its protocols,
the subsequent signing of the Ramok
Convention for Defending National Minorities
(February 1, 1995) and the new obligations
of the Russian Federation toward the
indigenous peoples of the North resulting
from these, accounting for the diminishing number of our peoples and
the extreme climatic conditions of life in
the Arctic, stating the devastating fact that in the last
century Russia has lost such nationalities
as Ain, Vod, Kamasinets, Kerek, Omok, and
Yug, further stating the fact that such nationalities as the
Aleut, Ket, Iganasan, Negidalets, Orok,
Oroch, Tofalar, Enets, Yukagir are on the
verge of extinction, noting the abuse of political rights of indigenous
peoples: in the 1989-1991 period 18
indigenous representatives were seated in
the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the USSR
and RSFSR where they developed a code of law
defending indigenous rights and interests;
in 1995 only two deputies were elected to
the Federal Assembly (Parliament) of Russia,
further noting that the majority of the autonomous regions
are no longer capable of defending the
rights of indigenous peoples of the North
and in the latest elections these regions
experienced intense pressure from financial
and industrial groups that promote interests
not in keeping with the with issues facing
indigenous people of the north, stating
that article 69 of the new Russian
Constitution does not "guarantee the rights
of indigenous peoples" because normative
acts have not been passed that provide for
the representative needs of our peoples:
"Basic Election Right Guarantees for
Citizens of the Russian Federation,"
"Election of Deputies to the State Duma of
the Federal Assembly of the Russian
Federation," and "Formation of the Council
of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of
the Russian Federation, noting that the Resolution "Critical Economic and
Cultural Condition of Indigenous Peoples of
the North, Siberia and Far East, passed by
the State Duma at its first meeting, was not
followed up with appropriate action by the
President or the Government of Russia while
at the same time the Government remains
indifferent to repeated appeals of the
Association of Indigenous Peoples of the
North on issues of the survival of these
ethnic groups, pointing out that our native lands are being annexed and
barbarically destroyed by rapacious
petroleum and natural gas, coal, gold and
non-ferrous mining interests without any
form of just compensation directly to
organizations and indigenous enterprises of
the north and this phenomena is depriving us
of our lands and rights to part of the
resource wealth, deprives us of our basic
right - a right to life, underscoring that the Federal Law "Basis for the Legal
Status of Indigenous Peoples of Russia" was
passed twice in 1995 by the State Duma: the
first time on July 21, and then, with the
President*s edits, on November 17th, and
both times was tabled by the President of
Russia, the guarantor of the Constitution,
that the reform movement of President B.N.
El'tsin that was optimistically supported by
indigenous peoples of the North has not met
these peoples' expectations, recognizing
that the Russian Government lacks any kind
of policy for the 29 endangered indigenous
groups of the north that number 200,000
people, for whom the transition to a market
economy is characterized by a total break
down of traditional economic activities and
way of life, an uncontrolled growth of
unemployment and impoverishment, life
threatening levels of crime and alcoholism
that undermine traditional outlooks on life,
sharp decline in the health of our peoples
and death rates that are one and a half
times the average in the country, expressing
the will of the most socially unprotected
and needy ethnic groups within Russia who
have become outcasts on their own land,
based upon the aforementioned facts on their
political and economic situation,
we are making a statement on
1. Procedures for direct compensation to organizations and indigenous enterprises compensation for the damage inflicted to the their lands and economic activities as a result of annexation and industrial development.
2. Direct licensing procedures that provide for the study of ways to develop coal / mineral deposits, production quotas and land tenure that guarantee traditional resource use and economic activities.
3. Creation of an economic development corporation for indigenous peoples of the north.
4. Negotiation procedures between the Russian Government and representatives of indigenous social organizations.
5. Creation, within the office of the President of the Russian Federation, of an fully empowered agency to advance the rights of indigenous peoples of the north.
6. Creation of a government fund to support indigenous peoples of the north.
7. Organization of a system of local, ethnic, self management bodies for peoples of the north.
8. Guaranteed minimum representation for people of the north in federal and regional representative bodies and executive branches.
9. Creation of a Department of the Arctic and appointment of a government ambassador to coordinate, at the international level, issues concerning the development of regions and peoples.
10. Federal Law "Basis for the Legal Status of Indigenous Peoples of Russia" and "Status for Peoples of the North."
11. Events marking in Russia the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples of the World 1995 - 2005.
While it is still not too late, while hope is still alive among our people, we CALL UPON the President of Russia, Chairman of the Government, Leaders of the Council of the Federation and State Duma of the Russian Federation to care fully examine the demands of our peoples and to not let them disappear from the face of the earth.**We appeal to political parties and movements, to the Russian public, to all people of good will, to whom the life and rights of every nationality is dear to SUPPORT the aims of minority peoples of the Russian North for self preservation.**In this extremely difficult time for indigenous peoples of the North we appeal to the international community and CALL UPON the Council of Europe, the UN General Assembly, the UN Commission of Human Rights, the Governments and Parliaments of the world, government and non-government organizations and institutions, all honest citizens that have contact with the higher organs of power TO SUPPORT OUR CALL in the name of survival and development of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and preservation of their lands.
This declaration is being sent to:
B.N. El'tsin -- President of the Russian Federation
March 04, 1996
The current statement in the name of the indigenous peoples of the North was signed by
RUSSIAN FEDERATION ASSOCIATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES*OF THE NORTH, SIBERIA AND FAR EAST
117876 Moscow, ul. Stroitelei, 8, k. 2, kom. 707