Yana Tannagasheva’s Address at the 17th Session of UN EMRIP: A Voice for Indigenous Rights in Russia

Thank you, Mr./Madam Chair, for the floor

The Russian government talks all the time about the colonialism of IP in other countries but has never said that the IP of the North, Siberia and the Far East were also colonized and continue to suffer. The everyday reality of the Indigenous Peoples of Russia is profoundly different from the rights described by Russian government and some of non-independent Indigenous representatives from Russia. 

At this time, I am going to speak on behalf of three Indigenous women (Buryat and Sakha Indigenous Peoples of Russia) who applied to attend this session, but for unknown reasons, unfortunately, were denied at the same time and were unable to travel to Geneva, although their tickets had already been purchased. These three strong activists represent anti-war organizations working on decolonial issues and drawing attention to violations of Indigenous rights in Russia and the impact of the war in Ukraine on their communities. 

I will read their message.

We, the undersigned Indigenous activists of Russia, are deeply concerned about the current tendency at the UN of Russia’s introducing its representatives into international human rights and Indigenous Rights mechanisms, and we are also very concerned about the exclusion of independent Indigenous voices from Russia from mechanisms such as the UN EMRIP and the PFII. 

We were not allowed to attend the 17th session of the EMRIP, but we hope that our voices will still be heard loudly. We believe that preventing independent representatives of Indigenous Peoples of Russia from attending UN sessions is a strong influence of the Russian Federation. Russia is trying to spread its propaganda in every possible way. Those who manage to participate in UN sessions are being pressurized by the Russian authorities in every possible way. 

Russia needs the natural resources of Indigenous Peoples. By selling it, the country earns billions of dollars to wage wars, to maintain a high level in the capital, to generously feed the power structures and keep the oligarch class and the elite loyal. Unfortunately, some Indigenous People’ representatives fall under such influence. Such Indigenous representatives become a tool of Russia’s propaganda.

We call on the EMRIP, the PFII, the VF, UN treaty bodies, and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to pay special attention to the representation of Indigenous Peoples of Russia, and we ask for ensuring the full and unhindered participation of independent Indigenous representatives in all future processes. It is very strange that the Association of the IP of Yamal made the same statement twice today. But nobody from independent indigenous from Russia.

We believe in the independence and commitment of UN mechanisms to freedom, inclusiveness, universality in the protection of Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you!

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