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- Russia is violating indigenous peoples' rights

Source: un.org

UN expert urges Russia to accelerate the process of protecting indigenous peoples' rights within the Russian Federation. Dr. James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of rights and fundamantal freedom of indigenous peoples, will present his report on indigenous peoples in Russia to the UN in September.

Although the Russian Federation has stated that steps have been taken to improve the situation of indigenous peoples' rights within the state, the UN report will show that indigenous peoples in Russia still face multiple impediments to fully enjoy their human rights. According to un.org, human development indicators show that indigenous peoples in Russia are "still often faring less well than other sectors of society".

Dr. James Anaya, who is the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the situation of the rights and fundamental freedom of indigenous peoples, visited the Russian Federation in October 2009, and the report is based on experiences made during his trip to several indigenous communities throughout the Russian Federation. The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) hosted Dr. Anaya on his journey across Russia.

Un.org reports that Russia receives some credit in the report, for showing its commitment to improving the living conditions of indigenous peoples, promoting their cultures and participation in decision-making, as well as developing a comprehensive policy aiming at this particular matter. This is e.g. done through programs for socio-economic development of indigenous peoples' communities, administered by the russian Federal Ministry of Regional Development. However, Dr. Anaya says that implementing existing law,s guaranteeing indigenous peoples' rights - at both national and regional levels - remains a challenge that needs to be resolved.

Indigenous peoples' rights are protected in written in the national legislation, but the implementation of these rights happens in varying speed and in varying strength, and this matter is briefly described in Barents Review 2010.

“Following the fall of communism, and transition to a market economy, indigenous peoples were in a particularly vulnerable position… unable to shape or define their new role in a drastically shifting political and economic atmosphere,” Dr. Anaya writes in the report, which will be presented in the United Nations in September 2010 

“Many indigenous communities,” the Rapporteur continues, “suffered extreme hardship with some reaching the brink of extinction during this time, while unemployment, poverty and alcoholism soared.”

He calls on the Government to fully support the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The landmark document, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, outlines the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlaws discrimination against them.


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