April 16 - 27 more than 1000 indigenous representatives from all over the world participate in the seventeenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations Headquarters. This year's session focuses on the problems of indigenous peoples' collective rights to lands, territories and natural resources.
Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Mikhail Gulyaev made a report to the participants of the forum, in which he told about the system of state policy measures in the republic in relation to indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North. He noted that for the sustainable development of the Evenks, Evens, Yukagirs, Dolgans, and Chukchi, an effective system of measures has been formed. There are over 20 regional laws, the institution of the Commissioner for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the North has been established, and state programs and projects have been implemented. All normative legal acts adopted in Yakutia that affect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples are subject to mandatory coordination with their authorized representatives.
Also, Mikhail Gulyaev said that since 2010 in Yakutia the republican law "On Ethnological Expertise" is being implemented, which regulates the relations of economic entities of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North with companies-subsoil users. There were a total of 11 expert appraisals of economic activity projects in indigenous territories of indigenous peoples, which contain calculation of compensation from industrial companies for possible damage to the owners of these lands and protect their rights and interests.
To support linguistic diversity and preserve the languages of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia, in accordance with Russian legislation, republican laws "On Languages" and "On the Status of Languages of Indigenous Peoples of the North" were adopted. For the involvement of the indigenous peoples of the North in the permanent language practice, the Day of Native Languages has been established, there are the 'Ilken' republican newspaper and the 'Gevan' TV program in 5 languages of low-numbered peoples, textbooks and books have been published, there is a prize of the Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for the contribution to preserve their native languages, Internet technologies are actively used. 11 nomadic schools have been opened for the organization of the educational process for children, which is not separated from the nomadic way of life of their parents. The project "International Arctic School" is being implemented, in the near future it is planned to create the International Center "Children of the Arctic."
"As the representative of the indigenous peoples, I fully support Russia's policy aimed at improving the quality of life and sustainable development of indigenous low-numbered peoples, the realization of the rights and freedoms of citizens and the development of civil society institutions, I look to the future with confidence and hope,” these words concluded the speech of the Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) at the UN.
Indigenous peoples make up less than 6 percent of the world's population, of which 15 percent are below the poverty line. They live in about 90 countries, represent 5000 different cultures and speak 6 700 languages.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2000. The Forum provides expert guidelines and advice on indigenous issues within the UN system through ECOSOC, raises awareness and facilitates the integration and coordination of relevant activities within the UN system and disseminates information on indigenous issues.
The permanent forum consists of 16 independent experts working in their personal capacity. ECOSOC appoints members, eight of whom are appointed by governments, and eight by representatives of indigenous peoples, organizations from different regions of the world. The Forum is increasingly recognized and has an impact on the global platform for dialogue, cooperation and action on indigenous peoples and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples acts as a fundamental basis.
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Source: Irina Kurilova, ‘Ilken’ newspaper.