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 The 4th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples completed its work

LIENIP NewsFrom 11 to 15 July 2011 in Geneva in the frameworks of the UN Human Rights Council the 4th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was held. For discussion during the session the final report on indigenous peoples and the right to participation in decision making was presented. At the session of the Expert Mechanism, LIENIP was represented by the president Gulvaira Kutsenko, Tatyana Demkina (Tyva Republic), Irina Solodukha (Altai Republic), Tatyana Kalyantagrau (Chukotsky Autonomous Okrug). 12 July on item 4 of the agenda LIENIP presented the statement of 25 indigenous organizations of the North, Siberia and the Far East and Dagestan Republic. The text of the joint statement of indigenous organizations of Russia is below:

Dear experts and participants of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples!

We speak on behalf of 25 organizations of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation. Our statement is also supported by indigenous organizations of the Northern Caucasus, in particular, Dagestan Republic.

Observance of human rights in the world, including the Russian Federation, depends on indigenous peoples’ possibility to take part in decision-making process concerning their living activities. In this connection we cordially welcome the Expert Mechanism’s study devoted to implementation of this right of indigenous peoples.

In the Russian Federation there are different institutions for indigenous peoples to make decisions. Indigenous communities, their unions and associations, public chambers, councils of indigenous representatives and deans are working in this field. However, there is a pernicious tendency strengthening at the moment – indigenous representatives are losing credit to their own decision-making institutions. And they have a serious ground for that.

First of all, most of regional indigenous organizations are mainly occupied with political struggle in order to receive some preferences from the authorities and industrial companies. The organizations have almost stopped paying attention to the needs of ordinary indigenous representatives and communities in the regions. Unfortunately, the activity of the best known in the UN Russian federal organization representing interests of indigenous peoples at the state and international level is aiming at financial provision of a small group of leaders of the organization. The main activity of the organization has become obtaining and expenditure of funds of international projects which are spent de facto for maintenance of the office and personal property in Moscow. Clannishness and nepotism are developed and encouraged there, decisions on behalf of all indigenous peoples of Russia are made by a small, almost family-related group of people. There are no mechanisms of financial clarity of this organization’s activity, which are vital for any non-governmental organization. The position of the leaders of this organization was publicly spoken: only one organization has the right to and must represent the political will of indigenous peoples of Russia. Unfortunately, as a result of this monopolistic behavior ordinary indigenous representatives, who are far from political struggle and property in Moscow, are suffering.

UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a necessary and important UN agency for indigenous peoples of the world. The efficient implementation of the mandate of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples depends a lot on professionalism and recognition by indigenous community of the experts forming the Expert Mechanism.

Items 39-53 of the Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007 determined the criteria for selection and appointment of the expert mandate-holders: (a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity.

We – organizations of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, as well as the organizations of the Northern Caucasus – pay your attention to the inconsistency of the candidate from Russia Anastasia Chukhman with the above criteria.

And our particular anxiety is caused by inconsistency of this candidate to such criteria as independence, impartiality and objectivity. Ananstasia Chukhman was nominated by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. This nomination was not agreed with many substantial indigenous organizations of the Russian Federation.

Among indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of Russia with its quite a small number (about 243 thousand people), the experts, being the most important indigenous representatives, become noticeable and recognized very quickly. Anastasia Chukhman does not belong to these people, she is not known and is not recognized as an expert by indigenous community of the Russian Federation. We don’t know any of her public statements concerning indigenous rights protection. Ms. Chukhman’s nomination and further appointment as an Expert in the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples caused shock among real indigenous expert community in the Russian Federation. According to the available information, there were no consultations held with the state authority bodies for nominating the candidate.

We – the representatives of 25 indigenous organizations of the Russian Federation – would like to ask the members of the Consultative Group selecting the mandate-holders: how could it happen that a person without special knowledge and experience (the expert is 29 years old!) is appointed to such a high position? How is Ms. Chukhman, having no letters of support from indigenous organizations of the Northern Caucasus, going to represent their interests at the international level?

We – organizations of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, the Far East and the Northern Caucasus of Russia – beg to state that Ms. Chukhman is not an expert recognized by indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation, has no ground for independent, impartial and objective work in the framework of the mandate of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and thus has no moral reasons to participate in the work of the Expert Mechanism as an expert.

We don’t demand a lot from the United Nations – only fair and impartial selection of experts based on high qualification and experience in the field of the mandate.
Thank you for your attention.



 
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