[Socioeconomic conditions among indigenous people of the north have declined dramatically in recent years. In addition to long standing issues, there are new problems associated with high levels of unemployment, deteriorating living conditions, increased sickness and limited educational opportunities. These issues have long been discussed among indigenous peoples and many now believe that the only way to resolve these troubling issues is through direct negotiation with the Russian Government.
The following document has been signed by indigenous social organizations and movements listed at the conclusion of the presentation with a request by V.B. Shustov, General Secretary, of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, that it be distributed widely.
We, the directors and leaders of various social and public interest groups representing indigenous peoples of the north in the Russian Federation,
in connection with the acceptance of the Russian Federation as a member of the European Council and with the adoption of the Charter of the European Council and General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the European Council and its protocols,
the subsequent signing of the Convention on Defense of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, November 04, 1950 and its protocols,
the subsequent signing of the Ramok Convention for Defending National Minorities (February 1, 1995) and the new obligations of the Russian Federation toward the indigenous peoples of the North resulting from these,
accounting for the diminishing number of our peoples and the extreme climatic conditions of life in the Arctic,
stating the devastating fact that in the last century Russia has lost such nationalities as Ain, Vod, Kamasinets, Kerek, Omok, and Yug,
further stating the fact that such nationalities as the Aleut, Ket, Iganasan, Negidalets, Orok, Oroch, Tofalar, Enets, Yukagir are on the verge of extinction,
noting the abuse of political rights of indigenous peoples: in the 1989-1991 period 18 indigenous representatives were seated in the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the USSR and RSFSR where they developed a code of law defending indigenous rights and interests; in 1995 only two deputies were elected to the Federal Assembly (Parliament) of Russia,
further noting that the majority of the autonomous regions are no longer capable of defending the rights of indigenous peoples of the North and in the latest elections these regions experienced intense pressure from financial and industrial groups that promote interests not in keeping with the with issues facing indigenous people of the north,
stating that article 69 of the new Russian Constitution does not "guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples" because normative acts have not been passed that provide for the representative needs of our peoples: "Basic Election Right Guarantees for Citizens of the Russian Federation," "Election of Deputies to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation," and "Formation of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation,
noting that the Resolution "Critical Economic and Cultural Condition of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, passed by the State Duma at its first meeting, was not followed up with appropriate action by the President or the Government of Russia while at the same time the Government remains indifferent to repeated appeals of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North on issues of the survival of these ethnic groups,
pointing out that our native lands are being annexed and barbarically destroyed by rapacious petroleum and natural gas, coal, gold and non-ferrous mining interests without any form of just compensation directly to organizations and indigenous enterprises of the north and this phenomena is depriving us of our lands and rights to part of the resource wealth, deprives us of our basic right - a right to life,
underscoring that the Federal Law "Basis for the Legal Status of Indigenous Peoples of Russia" was passed twice in 1995 by the State Duma: the first time on July 21, and then, with the President*s edits, on November 17th, and both times was tabled by the President of Russia, the guarantor of the Constitution,
that the reform movement of President B.N. El'tsin that was optimistically supported by indigenous peoples of the North has not met these peoples' expectations,
recognizing that the Russian Government lacks any kind of policy for the 29 endangered indigenous groups of the north that number 200,000 people, for whom the transition to a market economy is characterized by a total break down of traditional economic activities and way of life, an uncontrolled growth of unemployment and impoverishment, life threatening levels of crime and alcoholism that undermine traditional outlooks on life, sharp decline in the health of our peoples and death rates that are one and a half times the average in the country,
expressing the will of the most socially unprotected and needy ethnic groups within Russia who have become outcasts on their own land,
based upon the aforementioned facts on their political and economic situation,
we are making a statement on:
and address the President and Government of Russia as well as international organizations and individuals representing the interests of indigenous peoples with our appeal, and from the President and the Government of Russia, based on the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples to freedom, housing, food and education, demand the start of a negotiation process between the Government of the Russian Federation and indigenous peoples of the north as represented by its social organizations and movements in order to resolve fundamental issues essential to the survival and development of our peoples:
1. Procedures for direct compensation to organizations and indigenous enterprises compensation for the damage inflicted to the their lands and economic activities as a result of annexation and industrial development.
2. Direct licensing procedures that provide for the study of ways to develop coal / mineral deposits, production quotas and land tenure that guarantee traditional resource use and economic activities.
3. Creation of an economic development corporation for indigenous peoples of the north.
4. Negotiation procedures between the Russian Government and representatives of indigenous social organizations.
5. Creation, within the office of the President of the Russian Federation, of an fully empowered agency to advance the rights of indigenous peoples of the north.
6. Creation of a government fund to support indigenous peoples of the north.
7. Organization of a system of local, ethnic, self management bodies for peoples of the north.
8. Guaranteed minimum representation for people of the north in federal and regional representative bodies and executive branches.
9. Creation of a Department of the Arctic and appointment of a government ambassador to coordinate, at the international level, issues concerning the development of regions and peoples.
10. Federal Law "Basis for the Legal Status of Indigenous Peoples of Russia" and "Status for Peoples of the North."
11. Events marking in Russia the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples of the World 1995 - 2005.
While it is still not too late, while hope is still alive among our people, we CALL UPON the President of Russia, Chairman of the Government, Leaders of the Council of the Federation and State Duma of the Russian Federation to care fully examine the demands of our peoples and to not let them disappear from the face of the earth.**We appeal to political parties and movements, to the Russian public, to all people of good will, to whom the life and rights of every nationality is dear to SUPPORT the aims of minority peoples of the Russian North for self preservation.**In this extremely difficult time for indigenous peoples of the North we appeal to the international community and CALL UPON the Council of Europe, the UN General Assembly, the UN Commission of Human Rights, the Governments and Parliaments of the world, government and non-government organizations and institutions, all honest citizens that have contact with the higher organs of power TO SUPPORT OUR CALL in the name of survival and development of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and preservation of their lands.
This declaration is being sent to:
B.N. El'tsin -- President of the Russian Federation
V.S. Chernomyrdin -- Chairperson of the Russian Government
E.S. Stroev -- Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation
G.N. Seleznev -- Chairperson of the State Duma
March 04, 1996
A.V. Evai, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Yamalo-Nenetskii Autonomous Region
A.V. Krivoshapkin, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya)
N.V. Novik, President, Association of Ket
P.S. Stepanov, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Republic of Buryatiya
G.N. Psyagin, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Sakhalin Island
P.P. Kosygin, President Kamchatka Association of Kamchadalov
V.I. Gayulskii, President, Fund for the Survival and Economic and Cultural Development of Indigenous Peoples of the North Deputy, State Duma
Yu.A. Samar, President, Fund for the Indigenous Peoples of the North
T.S. Gogoleva, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Khanty-Mansiiskii Autonomous Region
E.A. Gaer, General Secretary, International League of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Groups
E.D. Aipin, President, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East
A.N. Nemtushkin, Chairperson, Coordinating Committee, Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Krasnoyarskii Krai.