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Lyudmila Korotkykh took part in the 15th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

6 July 2022

On Monday, July 4, the manager of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, Lyudmila Korotkykh, took part in the 15th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, during which she spoke about how untimely recognition and consolidation of the rights of indigenous peoples at the constitutional level leads to interstate conflicts and that it is a threat not only to indigenous peoples themselves, but to world peace and security.

Of course, the reaction of the representative of Russia was not long in coming. Immediately after the speech, he began to claim that “this is all propaganda” and tried to find out information about Liudmyla Korotkykh and Yana Tannagasheva, a representative of the indigenous Shor people.

Moreover, the representative of Russia brazenly interrupted the chairman and, in violation of the rules, made a statement.

Full text of the speech:

The path of official recognition by the Ukrainian state of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people was very long and difficult. Only after the beginning of the occupation of Crimea, Ukraine stepped up in the restoration and realization of the rights of the Crimean Tatar, Karaite and Krymchak peoples, and in 2021, in close cooperation with the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, a representative institution of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people, adopted the Law On the Indigenous Peoples. But we cannot fully take advantage of the opportunities provided by the adopted legislation, since Ukraine does not exercise effective control over the Crimean peninsula.

At the same time, the de facto Crimean authorities do not consult with the representative body of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people when making some decisions. In addition, they banned the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in 2016, calling it an extremist organization, and also do not comply with the order of the International Court of Justice of April 19, 2017 on the ban of  this decision.

My people have been living in interstate conflict for the ninth year. Today I am forced to say that my homeland - Crimea - has become a springboard for a new military escalation and a full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into my country - Ukraine in February of this year.

The reason for this conflict is non-observance and disregard for the rights of indigenous peoples, primarily the right to self-determination in accordance with Article of the 3 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

As a result, over the 8 years of occupation, 177 Crimean Tatars became victims of political persecution, thousands of representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people were illegally drafted into the ranks of the Russian army, which is prohibited not only by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but also by international humanitarian law.

Today, this practice poses a new threat to my people. Just a few days ago, the so-called occupation authorities issued a decree on mobilization. Crimean Tatars are sent and hundreds more can be sent to fight against their own people and against their country.

We sent our submission to the Expert Mechanism, where we describe in detail what measures and approaches were used to restore the rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. And I ask you to include this information in the study.

We recommend that you study the issues of ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of an interstate conflict and the impact of such a conflict on the effectiveness of measures taken to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We see that the non-recognition and non-constitutionalization of the rights of the indigenous people poses a threat not only to the indigenous people, but also to the peace and security of the whole world.