Representatives of Russian Indigenous Peoples have staged a protest against the war in Ukraine during a session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) — a subsidiary body of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, their colleague Andrey Danilov shared.
On 17 July, the activists stood up holding posters spelling out anti-war statements during the speech by the representative of the Crimean Tatar Centre, Eskender Bariyev. The posters said “Russia, stop the war” and “Russia must stop killing Indigenous Peoples”.
One of the protesters is Yana Tannagasheva — she told Novaya-Europe that Crimean Tatars and representatives of Indigenous Peoples of Russia which had had to flee the country due to persecution seek to use the UN platform to protect the rights of their people.
In particular, last year they advised the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to study the topic of how militarisation impacts the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Russia.
According to the representatives of Indigenous Peoples, this year’s EMRIP report was not of sufficient quality when it came to describing the reality that Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Ukraine face.
“The three paragraphs on Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Ukraine were very weak, furthermore, they were [compiled using] official information from Russia. For example, the information about the alternative [military] service for Indigenous Peoples of Russia. EMRIP and other UN mechanisms have to stay independent,” Tannagasheva said.
An activist from Murmansk Andrey Danilov, who took part in the session, said that “the Russian delegation is wholly made up of [representatives] of Indigenous Peoples loyal to the government”.
“Both delegates and interns of the Permanent Forum read prepared texts in an iron and emotionless voice. All of their speeches are recorded on camera by [chair of the association of Indigenous small-numbered peoples of Taymyr] Grygory Dyukarev, with the whole view of the room. So it’s not just the speech [that’s recorded] but also the reaction of the audience and who’s present. That’s unacceptable,” he wrote.
He also emphasised that the speeches of the Russian delegation boil down to praising the Russian government, without any critical remarks made.
Tannagasheva noted that the official Russian delegation uses “pet puppet aborigines” who “while receiving money from Nornickel and other large mining companies, laud Russia instead of using the opportunity provided by the UN platform to protect the rights of their people”.
The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples session takes place 17-21 July in Geneva.