22 session of the Working Group on Indigenous Population Statement by Kamila Shermatova, NGO
Тема: Indigenous Issues
Economic and Social Council
Commission on Human Rights
Sub-Commission on the Promotion of Human Rights
22 session of the Working Group on Indigenous Population
19-23 July 2004 Geneva, Switzerland
Item: 4 b
Statement by Kamila Shermatova, NGO "Istok" & LIENIP
Dear members of the Working Group, brothers and sisters!
At the beginning of my statement I want to thank the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations which has made possible my participation at this session. My name is Kamila Shermatova, I am representing the Altai regional public organization of the Kumandin people "Istok", which is a participant NGO of "Lauravetlan Information and Education Network of Indigenous People" of Russia (LIENIP).
Concerning the topic of the year "Conflicts Resolution", I want to underline, that by conflict we understand an intense or stress within public system. Differentiating two types of it we can identify a potential conflict. First is among the indigenous communities, who are preserving its traditional social structures and living mainly in rural areas. In this society conflicts appear almost exclusively because of competition for recourses - water and land, caused by a demographic and ecological crisis.
As for the Altaisky krai (territory), when the Russian Federation Law "On differentiating of the state landownership" was adopted, which recognized equity of rights of the state and its citizens, an urgent need has now appeared to have unified rules which would clarify the order of the landownership circulations. These mechanisms have been inscribed in the Federal Law "On circulation of the lands of agricultural use". Nether less these laws have not resolved problems but caused more. The main problem is incoherent complications on rights of landowners.
Article 69 of the Russian Federation Constitution guarantees the rights of the indigenous small-numbered peoples in accordance with worldwide recognized principles, norms of the international legislation on human rights and international agreements of Russia. But in practice it is hard for the indigenous people to implement their rights because of a condition of the main law. Adopted legislative acts on rights of the indigenous people are implemented slowly. Its implementation mechanism are not worked and in many cases they contradict to other laws of the Russian Federation, therefore number of the land conflicts in Altai and land cases applied for the courts increases.
Second, it is problems of relations of local indigenous and coming populations.
From the point of view of interethnic conflicts, nowadays, there is no tense, as it is, in the Altaisky krai. Interethnic situation is calm, living here national groups (Altai, Kumandin, Telengit, Tubalar, Chelkan, Russian and etc.) have no reason for conflicts, but objectively there is rather complicated social and ecological situation, if not beneficial development of the situation, indirectly it could cause a problem. Factors of social tense in general are the same as in all the Russian Federation: destruction of the economic relations, decrease of industrial production, law level of salary and as a result - no assurance in the future, increasing tense in society and aggressiveness with nowadays circumstances.
Therefore resolving political-legislative problems of the indigenous peoples, it is necessary to consider not only common humanist requirements and international legislative documents, but also which real results this or that variant of resolution would lead to. Legislation should provide achievement at least of three objectives: 1) prevention of interethnic conflicts, 2) supply of high quality wellbeing and normal quality of life for all ethnic groups living on this territory, 3) ensuring ethnic diversity and specifics conservation of this or that ethnic group. It is important to have right hierarchy of objectives, in particular, ensuring priority of common human values over ethnic.
National peace is very fragile and therefore while solving national questions it is important to act extremely considerably. On one hand very inventively to eliminate any cases of nationalism and extremism, on the other - to lead hard and everyday work on development of ethnic and religious tolerance, respect to traditions and customs of a man who lives in neighborhood.
Thank you for attention.