In Kyiv, recommendations have been developed in the field of implementation of the collective rights of indigenous peoples in Ukraine

December 11, 2019

On Wednesday, December 11, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center and the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy organized a workshop “How to ensure the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples in Ukraine?” within the framework of the National Human Rights Non-Conference. The participants of the event developed recommendations in the field of implementation of the collective rights of indigenous peoples in Ukraine.

During the event, experts together with the participants discussed the following topics:

1) Indigenous peoples: criteria, legal status, difference from national minorities;

2) The importance and necessity of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the legislation and management practice of Ukraine;

3) Violation of the collective rights of the indigenous people in the conditions of the armed conflict in Crimea, the policy of Ukraine, representative structures of indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in international bodies and courts;

4) Concrete measures to support the rights of indigenous peoples in the field of land, resources, language and cultural heritage;

5) The importance of investigating the genocide and racial discrimination of the indigenous people of Ukraine as a mechanism for restoring violated collective rights.

Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Eskender Bariiev spoke about the experience of interaction between the CTRC and the Mejlis with the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the experience of working with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In his speech, the member of the Mejlis emphasized the importance of the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur to Ukraine for direct communication with representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people.

Bariiev noted that Ukraine does not have an action plan on indigenous peoples' issues, however, according to him, CTRC experts are working on a draft national action plan on indigenous peoples' issues in Ukraine in accordance with the UN System-wide Action Plan to promote the rights of indigenous peoples.

Experts Nataliia Belitser and Borys Babin spoke about the characteristics and criteria of indigenous peoples. According to them, the main features of indigenous peoples are the formation in a certain territory, the absence of statehood and self-identification as an indigenous people.

Boris Babin also spoke about international experience in the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular, in the framework of cooperation with the UN. The speaker added that in the latest report of the EMRIP, after many years of efforts, there were references to the events in Ukraine, in particular, about the consequences of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people.

The event was moderated by journalist Larysa Voloshyna.

Experts, together with the participants of the event, developed recommendations in the field of implementation of the collective rights of indigenous peoples in Ukraine:

1. To include in the monitoring reports on the human rights situation in Crimea/Ukraine a section on collective rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples.

2. To contribute to the investigation of the case Ukraine v. Russia in the part of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the International Court of Justice.

3. To implement the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, adopt the Law of Ukraine “On the Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine”.

4. To initiate an appeal by Ukraine to the signatory states of the Budapest Memorandum for consultations on the fulfillment of their obligations to ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Memorandum and with the participation of representatives of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

5. To form the institution of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for the rights of indigenous peoples, the formation of which will be coordinated with the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

6. To develop, in accordance with the recommendation of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a National Action Plan for Ensuring the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine.

7. To initiate a country visit to Ukraine by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in accordance with their mandates.

8. To facilitate the adoption of a court decision on recognizing the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 as an act of genocide.

9. To introduce responsibility for denying the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 by an act of genocide.

10. To initiate the creation of Crimean Tatar cultural centers in places of compact residence of Crimean Tatars.

11. To carry out educational and outreach activities to explain the concept of an indigenous people, its difference from national minorities and the need to exercise their rights in Ukraine.

In addition, within the framework of the National Human Rights Non-Conference, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center presented an exposition about the Crimean Tatar people, developed jointly with the Estonian Institute of Human Rights, the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

Also at the event were distributed booklets Time to free political prisoners of Crimea and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Crimean Tatar language, prepared by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Ukraine.