Crimean Tatar Resource Center

Statement by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

9 August 2018

Dear brothers and sisters - representatives of indigenous peoples!

Every year on August 9, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is celebrated. It was approved by the resolution of the UN General Assembly in 1994.

This year, the International Day of the World's Indigenous People is focused on the migration and displacement of indigenous peoples, the observance will explore the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

Unfortunately, the last four years that have passed under the conditions of Russian occupation have become for Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks - indigenous peoples of Crimea - very dangerous from the point of view of observing the principles embodied in the UN Charter, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The whole range of individual human rights and the collective rights of the indigenous peoples to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples became the object for encroachments on the part of the Russian Federation that occupied Crimea.

As a result of systemic repressions, pressure and aggressive policy of the Russian Federation, the Crimean Tatar people is being squeezed out of their historical homeland. In addition, Russia conducts a policy of substitution of the population in Crimea, violating Article 8 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Under conditions of temporary occupation by the Russian Federation of Crimea, the indigenous peoples of the peninsula - Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks - are completely deprived of the opportunity to freely carry out their activities aimed at preserving their own culture, protecting their lands, preventing discrimination in other spheres of life.

In 2016, the Supreme Court of Russia banned the representative body of the Crimean Tatars - the Mejlis, accusing it of extremism, thus violating the collective right of the indigenous people to manage their representative institutions, articles 5, 18 and 19 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Up to this day, Russia has not fulfilled the Intermediate Decision of the UN ICJ of April 19, 2017 on the abolition of the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

In 2014, Ukraine joined the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In March 2014, by the Decision of the Parliament, Ukraine officially recognized the Crimean Tatars as the indigenous people and its representative bodies Kurultai and Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

In July 2018, an official invitation was sent to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpus to visit Ukraine.

A proposal was also made to the Expert Mechanism, within the mandate, to assist in an expert consultation on the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the national legislation of Ukraine.

The visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism to Ukraine will send a message of appreciation to all Ukrainian people from indigenous peoples, will contribute to a deeper understanding of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both by the Ukrainian politicians, experts and society, will make it possible to more effectively implement the Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples in the national legislation of Ukraine.

The Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center,
Member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Eskender Bariiev