Aleksey Tsykarev: From Karelia to the UN

[iframe style=”border:none” src=”//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5258089/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/custom/tdest_id/497990/custom-color/#87A93A” height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

My first guest is Aleksey Tsykarev, member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) and a leading activist of Karelian and Finno-Ugric civic movements. We talk about his life story so far, about Karelia – its people, languages, culture – and discuss Aleksey’s ongoing work at EMRIP. Tune in for the first episode of the Indigenous Hour! 

Check out this episode!

Advertisements

Всемирные финно-угорские конгрессы: почему они бесполезны и что с ними делать?

Выступление на Открытом финно-угорском конгрессе (16.06.2016, Лахти)

По сравнению со многими из вас, я относительно новый человек для финно-угорских кругов. Мой первый контакт с “финно-угорским миром” был в 2009 году на Финно-угорском социально-экономическом форуме в Кудымкаре (Пермский край). С тех пор я представлял Эстонию в МАФУН (2011-2013 гг.), инициировал и координировал Программу ««Культурные столицы финно-угорского мира» (2013-2015 гг.), был членом правления НПО Фенно-Угриа (2013-2015 гг.). В результате моего финно-угорской гражданской активности я был выдвинут Эстонией и был избран Экономическим и Социальным Советом (ЭКОСОС) в качестве члена Постоянного форума Организации Объединенных Наций по вопросам коренных народов (ПФКН) на текущий срок 2014-2016. В целом, эти 6 лет финно-угорской активности стали действительно поучительным, позитивным и даже меняющим жизнь опытом.

Вместе с тем, всё это время постоянно был один источник разочарования, а именно – система Всемирных финно-угорских конгрессов, под которой я подразумеваю сами Конгрессы в сочетании с Консультативным комитетом финно-угорских народов (ККФУН) – координационным органом для выполнения решений Конгресса. Мой общий вывод заключается в том, что, в лучшем случае, эта система бесполезна для финно-угорских народов. Можно даже сказать, что в итоге система Всемирных конгрессов является контрпродуктивной для финно-угорского сотрудничества и гражданского движения. Я попробую объяснить, почему это так, и что может быть сделано в этом плане.

Для того, чтобы проанализировать влияние Всемирных финно-угорских конгрессов, я задам следующие три вопроса:

  1. Насколько хорошо система выполняет свои собственные заявленные цели?
  2. Какие есть дополнительные преимущества, связанные с этим?
  3. Какой вред, если таковой имеется, Всемирные конгрессы могут нанести финно-угорским народам?

В случае, если Всемирные конгрессы выполняют свои собственные цели-задачи, имеют явные благоприятные последствия и не наносят вреда финно-угорским народам, то они имеют право на существование. Однако если, наоборот, финно-угорский мир может быть лучше и без них, то необходимо, как минимум, основательно реформировать эту систему.

Отвечает ли система Всемирных конгрессов своим собственным целям-задачам?

К счастью, цели и основные принципы Всемирного конгресса четко изложены в документе под названием: Положение о Всемирном конгрессе финно-угорских народов от 05.09.2014. (http://lahti2016.fucongress.org/en/documents/regulation-congress)

«1. Общие положения: 1.1.Всемирный конгресс финно-угорских народов (далее Конгресс) является форумом для представителей финно-угорских и самодийских народов, который не зависит от правительств и политических партий, и который в своей деятельности опирается на «Декларацию об основных принципах, целях и задачах сотрудничества финно-угорских народов мира. (Сыктывкар, 1992).

Утверждение “независимо от правительств” является фальшивым. Как мы все знаем, единственный путь проведения Всемирных конгрессов, а также финансирования деятельности Консультативного комитета – это финансовая поддержка со стороны правительств. Правительства принимающей страны обеспечивают основное финансирование Всемирных конгрессов, в то время как правительства Эстонии, Финляндии и Венгрии финансируют работу Консультативного комитета (ККФУН). Хотя само по себе это не означает, что обсуждение вопросов на Всемирных конгрессах так или иначе идёт в пользу преимущественно этих стран, но это означает, что само существование Всемирных конгрессов во многом зависит от правительств.

Более важно то, что, особенно в России, власти всех уровней оказывают влияние на состав делегаций финно-угорских народов России, особенно в этом году, что делает зависимым от правительств, по крайней мере, состав делегатов, а тем самым и содержание дискуссий. Подробнее об этом позже. Давайте сейчас посмотрим на формальные цели Всемирных конгрессов.

2. Цели Конгресса:

2.1. Содействие развитию сотрудничества между финно-угорскими народами, а также между финно-угорскими и другими народами в области культуры, науки, образования, информации, права, экологии, социально-политических вопросов и экономики;

2.2. Содействие в развитии языков и культур, а также этнической идентичности финно-угорских народов;

2.3. Содействие в реализации международных норм в области прав человека, прав народов на самоопределение и прав коренных народов “.

По п. 2.1: Есть множество хороших примеров сотрудничества во многих этих областях, особенно в области культуры и науки (в том числе в финно-угроведении, этнологии и т.д.), однако почти все это не имеет никакого отношения к Всемирным конгрессам. В определённой степени сотрудничество между финно-угорскими народами происходит несмотря на, а не благодаря Всемирным конгрессам. За эти последние 6 лет я не слышал ни об одной инициативе Всемирного конгресса или Консультативного комитета, которая бы “содействовала дальнейшему сотрудничеству между финно-угорскими народами” в этих областях. Вместе с тем я увидел примеры, как проваливалось такое “содействие дальнейшему сотрудничеству». Не понаслышке, а «из первых рук», своими глазами я видел, как новые инициативы «взлетали», развивались и становились устойчивыми без всякой связи и поддержки со стороны Всемирных конгрессов – будь то Фестиваль финно-угорских фильмов, семинары финно-угорской Википедии или Культурные столицы финно-угорского мира.

Позвольте мне начать с примера Программы «Культурные столицы финно-угорского мира». На последнем Всемирном конгрессе в Шиофоке (Siófok) я выступал от имени МАФУН об этой программе, которая тогда находилась в стадии разработки, и в ходе работы Секции культуры нам удалось внести её в качестве рекомендации в итоговый документ Секции культуры. Правление МАФУН предполагало, то это будет основой для сотрудничества между МАФУН и ККФУН, с тем чтобы расширить базу поддержки этой программы. Однако вначале координаторы ККФУН не нашли время в своем плотном графике, чтобы обсудить это. Позднее, после многочисленных усилий со стороны руководства МАФУН, ККФУН на своём заседании формально одобрил программу и согласился создать совместную рабочую группу. Но после этого всё сломалось. После того, как МАФУН отправил ККФУН письмо с конкретными предложениями о том, как работать вместе, не пришло никакого ответа. Не было ответа и на второе, и на третье письмо. Тогда, в конце концов, МАФУН отказался от координации своей деятельности с ККФУН и сделал все в одиночку. В настоящее время это устойчивая финно-угорская межкультурная программа, которую даже Специальный докладчик ООН по вопросу о правах коренных народов, г-жа Виктория Таули-Корпуз (Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz), назвала хорошим примером защиты и продвижения культурных прав коренных народов в мире. С другой стороны, время, которое МАФУН и я потратили на привлечение ККФУН, просто потеряно впустую. А тот факт, что в одном из документов секции Конгресса была упомянута эта инициатива, уже не имеет значения, так как это ничего не изменило.

По п.п. 2.2. и 2.3.: Именно они вызывают наибольшую критику системы Всемирных конгрессов. В принципе, оба они являются важными целями. Любые виды моральной, политической и практической помощи со стороны международного финно-угорского движения конкретным финно-угорским народам при решении стоящих перед ними конкретных вопросов должны быть в верхней части повестки дня финно-угорского движения. Именно здесь должна быть общая финно-угорская солидарность. Однако, это именно та область, где система Всемирных конгрессов проваливается, обманывает ожидания наиболее сильно.

Очевидно, что “помощь” в этом контексте не может означать только мероприятия, которые проводятся в ходе Всемирных конгрессов или резолюции конгресса в качестве официальных результатов-«продуктов» Всемирных конгрессов. Выступления, дискуссии и резолюции сами по себе никому помочь не могут. Поэтому единственной помощью, которую система Всемирных конгрессов в теории может оказать, является советы и консультации ККФУН по актуальным проблемам-вопросам отдельным финно-угорским народам, их организациям и активистам между Всемирными конгрессами, но в соответствии с решениями-резолюциями Всемирного конгресса. Но даже этого не происходит. За прошедшие годы я снова и снова слышал о тех случаях, когда активисты или организации, наивно думая, что KKFUN может действительно оказать хоть какую-то поддержку, на деле не получили никакой помощи. Их либо оставляли без ответов на их письма (наиболее типичный сценарий), или им неофициально говорили, что ККФУН в действительности не может влиять на что-либо, и что народы должны сами решать свои вопросы-проблемы. Тот факт, что ККФУН принимает решения на основе консенсуса, также не помогает ему выполнять свою совещательно-консультативную роль.

Позвольте мне показать несколько конкретных примеров того, как ККФУН не оправдал надежд – не смог помочь финно-угорским народам:

  • Закрытие марийской школы в Васькино (https://mariuver.com/tag/васькинская-школа/ ). Это была школа с этнокультурным компонентом в селе Васькино Пермского края, в котором имеется этническое марийское население. После того, как местные власти решили закрыть школу, жители села начали активную кампанию: в средствах массовой информации, с органами власти и т.д. Они несколько раз обращались в ККФУН с просьбами о помощи, консультациями, однако ККФУН хранил молчание.
  • Другой пример из Пермского края. Одним из наиболее организованных и наиболее эффективных финно-угорских инициатив прошлых лет были финно-угорские социально-экономические форумы в Пермском крае. В то время как организаторы приглашали членов ККФУН принять участие в качестве экспертов, просили ККФУН направить форумам официальные приветствия, ККФУН никогда даже не ответил. А когда местные власти эффективно отменили 3-й Международный форум в 2011 году, отключив отопление в единственном отеле в Кудымкаре, организаторы обратились в ККФУН за поддержкой, но не получили никакого ответа.
  • И третий пример – от ижор. В 2014 году ижорские и водские общины начали кампанию протеста против планируемого строительства карбамидного завода около порта Усть-Луга. Одно из первых писем было адресовано ККФУН 20 января 2014 года от имени ижорской организации “Шойкула” и Водского культурного общества. Они попросили сотрудничество и конкретную помощь. Тем не менее, они так и не получили никакого официального ответа на их письмо, не говоря уже о какой-либо помощи. Один из членов Консультативного комитета, г-н Петр Тултаев, даже умудрился посмеяться над ижорами и водью, говоря, что он на самом деле не понимает их озабоченность, и что мордва, с другой стороны, была бы счастлива, если такой карбамидный завод был бы построен на их землях. В любой другой части мира такая позиция рассматривалось бы как неприемлимо оскорбительно-возмутительной, особенно если бы нечто подобное заявил какой-нибудь защитник коренных народов или прав национальных меньшинств. А в “финно-угорском мире» никто даже не заметил, не говоря уже о протестах.

Это всего лишь несколько примеров, но все они являются частью общей картины поведения ККФУН – который на деле не оказывает помощи, не оказывает поддержку тем, кто её просит. Когнитивный диссонанс между заявленными целями Всемирных конгрессов и реальностью ошеломляют.

Кроме того, я считаю, это особенно странно читать о приверженности Всемирного конгресса к праву на самоопределение народов, в свете следующей темы – формирование делегаций.

“3. Делегаты, участники Конгресса

3.1. Делегаты съезда свободно выбираются народами, механизм формирования делегации не регламентируется.

3.2. – / … / Процедуры формирования делегаций должны быть прозрачными и принимать во внимание законодательство указанной страны в отношении НКО / … /

Что касается “свободно выбираются народами”. Что значит “свободно”? Для меня это означает «свободный от вмешательства со стороны властей (национальных, региональных, местных)». Но тот, кто следит за событиями в прошлом, и, особенно, за этим Всемирным конгрессом знает, что это просто не соответствует действительности, по крайней мере, когда речь идет о России.

В то время как в прошлом это вмешательство было сфокусировано на формировании состава делегаций, в этом году дополнительный аспект является их размер. Были скоординированы усилия по сокращению размеров делегаций до абсолютного минимума. В целом эта стратегия сработала:

  • удмурты: от разрешённых 20 – до 5
  • мари: от разрешённых 20 – до 7
  • мордва: от разрешённых 20 – до 6
  • карелы: от разрешённых 20 – до 13
  • коми-пермяки: от разрешённых 20 – до 1 (!!!)

Почему я так уверен, что это была скоординированное вмешательство государства, а не свободное и добровольное решение народов (их представительных органов)? Ключом для понимания этого является то, какую “новую” роль самостоятельна приняла на себя Ассоциация финно-угорских народов Российской Федерации (АФУН РФ) в планировании текущего Всемирного конгресса. Несмотря на то, что АФУН РФ совсем недавно получила статус ЭКОСОС НКО, она не представляет гражданское общество, но является инструментом российского правительства, в частности, Федерального агентства по делам национальностей. Членство АФУН не имеет демократического мандата какого-либо народа. Самое главное, что у АФУН РФ формально нет какой-либо роли в процессах системы Всемирный конгресс/Консультативный комитет, судя по документации последних. Тем не менее, АФУН РФ, казалось бы из ниоткуда возникла в 2015 году с обращением к российским организациям финно-угорских народов избегать прямого контакта с Консультативным комитетом по вопросам подготовки Всемирного конгресса и работать только через АФУН РФ. В то же время АФУН РФ начал делать свои собственные запросы Консультативному комитету, чтобы формировать повестку дня Всемирного конгресса, добавив такие темы, как “борьба с угрозой фашизма в некоторых странах финно-угорских народов”. Существует письменное свидетельство всего этого.

Кто-нибудь на самом деле думает, что подобные идеи приходят от самих финно-угорских народов, по их собственной инициативе? Ничем, кроме как указаниями со стороны властей, нельзя объяснить такого рода поведение отдельных побочных представителей финно-угорских народов, так использующих право участия в этих процессах.  Другим примером агрессивного поведения и вмешательства АФУН РФ в этот процесс является тот факт, что, например, удмуртская делегация каким-то образом должна была быть сформирована только из числа представителей АФУН РФ, что действительно является очень странным требованием. В результате, АФУН РФ фактически узурпировала планирование конгресса в этом году в некоторых, если не в большинстве финно-угорских регионов России и, таким образом, был обеспечен значительный контроль государства над составом делегаций. Результатом этого является Конгресс с нейтрализованными делегациями нескольких финно-угорских народов России, которые состоят из делегатов, которые никогда не будут публично выражать какую-либо критическую мысль, и, возможно, будут вообще без единой мысли на этом съезде.

Точную степень этого вмешательства трудно измерить, но лично я убежден, что, по крайней мере делегации удмуртов, мордовских народов, карелов, марийцев и коми-пермяков – как с точки зрения размера, так и состава – были тщательно соркестрированы местными властями. Это несколько самых крупных финно-угорских народов России. Единственным возможным исключением из этого правила является делегация Коми, которая, по крайней мере, не была значительно уменьшена в размерах.

Таким образом, положение, что делегации “свободно избираются народами” абсурдно, почти полностью противоположно реальности. Тем не менее, все эти делегации тепло приветствовались здесь в Лахти в Сибелиус-Тало, рассматриваются в качестве законных представителей своих народов. Они едят, пьют и наслаждаются великолепной культурной программой, разработанной хозяевами за счет государства Финляндии. В то же время многие из лучших и наиболее эффективных финно-угров, некоторых из которых я имею честь знать, никогда не имели возможность стать членами делегаций своих народов. Моя финно-угорская солидарность – с ними, вот почему я не принимаю участие в этом 7-м Всемирном конгрессе.

Основываясь на этом, должен спросить, в какой степени Всемирный конгресс и Консультативный комитет действительно уважает принцип самоопределения народов, как указано в п. 2.3 «Целей», так как нет никакого самоопределения в формировании этих делегаций.

По п. 3.2. Формирование делегаций не является прозрачным, и это не только российская проблема. Это также стало проблемой в Венгрии, где некоторые из наиболее эффективных финно-угорских активистов не получили четких ответов, почему они не могут присоединиться к делегации своего народа, и в результате они остались дома.

В заключение по этому вопросу: система Всемирных конгрессов проваливается, обманывает ожидания как в своих общих положениях, целях (во всех 3 из них), так и в формировании делегаций. Она не выполняет свои собственные цели.

Сторонние выгоды от Всемирного конгресса?

Следующий вопрос – есть ли какие-то дополнительные преимущества в системе Всемирных конгрессов, которые делают целесообразным её поддержание.

Общение/Нетворкинг – это, наверное, главная практическая польза от Всемирных конгрессов. Но может ли это событие быть оправдано только этим? Не убежден, так как есть также много и других мест для таких связей, хотя, возможно, не так много из финансируемых государством.

Символизм –  Аргумент гласит, что символически Всемирный конгресс является важным событием, демонстрацией солидарности/единства финно-угорских народов и мира. Эта символизм усиливается участием глав государств, министров, депутатов. Однако символы представляют ценность, если они должным образом представляют собой лежащую в основе состояние «истины». В нашем случае, Всемирные конгрессы больше похожи на искажение реальности. Они создают иллюзию единства/солидарности, когда на самом деле делегаты глубоко разделены с точки зрения ценностей и идеологий. Например, я не уверен, что делегаты согласятся даже на фундаментальное понятие самоопределения финно-угорских народов (как указано в п. 2.3 «Целей»), на равенство финно-угорских народов между собой и со всеми народами мира, и на то, что народы не должны получать ордера от органов власти. Тем не менее, без такой системы общих ценностей мало что может быть достигнуто такими конгрессами. Не стоит давать символ иллюзии.

Традиция – есть аргумент, что это традиция, восходящая еще до Второй мировой войны (конгрессы финно-угорской культуры), но стоит ли сохранить эту традицию, и стоит ли тратить на неё деньги налогоплательщиков? Потому что давайте не будем забывать, что в качестве чисто гражданской, самофинансируемой инициативы она не будет жизнеспособной.

Вредны ли Всемирные Конгрессы финно-угорским народам?

Заключительный тест: ДАЖЕ если Всемирный конгресс в реальности не достигает своих целей, и ДАЖЕ если есть немного добавленной стоимости/сопутствующих эффектов, есть что-нибудь вредное/негативное/проблематичное у Всемирных конгрессов (для финно-угорских народов)? Потому что если нет, то почему бы не оставить   происходящее на автопилоте, в конце концов, не так уж и дорого всё это поддерживать?

На первый взгляд ответ будет “нет”. Выглядит как довольно безвредная система. Не теряются жизни, не вызывает никаких физических страданий. Но если заглянуть поглубже, можно обнаружить несколько негативных “подводных течений”.

  • ЧУВСТВО НЕСПРАВЕДЛИВОСТИ. Вмешательство властей создает ощущение несправедливости среди законных активистов, которые заслуживают того, чтобы быть на конгрессе, они хотели бы, но не могут представлять интересы своего народа. Здесь много недовольства, однако часто скрытого, так как люди боятся говорить публично.
  • НЕДЕМОКРАТИЧЕСКОЕ РУКОВОДСТВО. Демократия – это не только власть большинства. Она также включает в себя некоторые виды практики, которые приняты в качестве демократических, один из таких – ограничение сроков. Тем не менее, председатель ККФУН г-н Валерий Марков в настоящее время завершает свой 6-й срок. Это можно квалифицировать как демократия в Зимбабве, но не в финно-угорском мире.
  • ЭРОЗИЯ ДОСТОИНСТВА. Государственное регулирование формирования делегаций народов является нарушением основного права этих народов на самоопределение, если они действительно считают себя самостоятельными народами. Всемирные конгрессы являются напоминанием о том, что они не являются субъектами с коллективными правами, но, наоборот, объектами и инструментами государственной политики.

На основании вышесказанного, я делаю вывод, что система Всемирных конгрессах серьезно нарушена. Это приводит к следующему вопросу: может ли она ещё быть восстановлена или она уже вне точки спасения? Объективный ответ на этот вопрос, может, и невозможен, но моя личная точка зрения на сегодняшний день такова: система Всемирных конгрессов не подлежит ремонту. Причина в том, что некоторых из наиболее фундаментальных элементов этой системы просто нереально достичь. Это включает:

  • Требование представительности финно-угорских народов на Всемирных конгрессах – не представляется возможным из-за вмешательства государства и из-за дополнительных социально-экономических факторов.
  • Консультативный комитет как реакционный, внутренне-ориентированный орган не способен мобилизовать себя для решения конкретных проблем конкретных финно-угорских народов
  • Маргинализация Всемирного конгресса, его уход в сторону от реальных и позитивных изменений и инициатив финно-угорского мира – всё это зашло слишком далеко.

В результате, на мой взгляд, Всемирные конгрессы следует прекратить или, по крайней мере, приостановить на некоторое время. Нет необходимости проводить 8-й Всемирный конгресс финно-угорских народов в Тарту или где-нибудь еще. Но что может занять их место? Что было бы конструктивной альтернативой?

Я вижу большой потенциал в Открытом финно-угорского форуме заинтересованных лиц – представляющих себя и, возможно, свои организации. Это позволит избавиться от ложного требования представительности, связанного со Всемирными конгрессами. Такие форумы не будут иметь отвлечённые возвышенные цели, ни пафоса, ни президентов или министров, ни квоты для участников. Они могут быть именно теми центрами, где можно будет не только делиться опытом, обсуждать, устраивать дебаты, но и прославлять разнообразные финно-угорские культуры и великую гуманистическую идею финно-угорской идентичности и солидарности. Этим форумам следует стремиться стать самофинансируемыми, однако финансовая поддержка со стороны принимающих государств, регионов или городов будут приветствоваться. Такие форумы не будут принимать каких-либо официальных решений, которые впоследствии так или иначе не будут реализованы. Вместо того, чтобы проводиться каждые 4 года, они могут проходить ежегодно, создавая тем самым еще более прочные связи между участниками, а также реагируя на текущие события как на локальном, так и на глобальном уровнях.

Спасибо!

Оливер Лооде

Перевёл Sergey Kalyagin.

Оригинал: https://oliverloode.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/finno-ugric-world-congresses-why-they-are-useless-and-what-to-do-about-them/

 

Finno-Ugric World Congresses: why they are useless and what to do about them?

Statement at the Open Finno-Ugric Congress (16.6.2016, Lahti)

Compared to many of you, I am relatively new to Finno-Ugric circles. My first contact with the “Finno-Ugric world” was in 2009 at the Finno-Ugric Socio-Economic Forum in Kudymkar (Perm Region). Since then, I have represented Estonia in the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) (2011-13), initiated and coordinated the Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme (2013-2015), and served as Board member of Estonia’s Fenno-Ugria NGO (2013-2015). As a direct result of my Finno-Ugric civic activism I was nominated by Estonia and elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) for the current term of 2014-2016. Overall, these 6 years of Finno-Ugric activism have been a truly eye-opening, positive and even life-changing experience.

However, all along there has been one constant source of disappointment – namely, the system of Finno-Ugric World Congresses by which I mean the actual Congresses in combination with the Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples – a co-ordinating body for securing the implementation of decisions by the Congress. My general conclusion is that, at best, this system is useless for Finno-Ugric peoples. It may even be that on balance, the system of World Congresses is counterproductive for Finno-Ugric collaboration and civic movement. I will attempt to explain why this is the case and what can be done about it.

To analyse the impact of Finno-Ugric World Congresses, I will ask the following three questions:

  1. How well is the system meeting its own stated objectives?
  2. What additional benefits are associated with it?
  3. What, if any, harm do World Congresses cause for Finno-Ugric peoples?

To the extent that World Congresses meet their own objectives, have notable side benefits and do not cause harm for Finno-Ugric peoples, they are entitled to exist. If, however, the opposite is true, the Finno-Ugric world may be better off without them or should, at a minimum, thoroughly reform this system.

Does the World Congress system meet its own objectives?  

Thankfully, the objectives and key principles of the World Congress are clearly stated in the document called: Regulations of the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples, updated on 5.9.2014.   (http://lahti2016.fucongress.org/en/documents/regulation-congress)

“1. General provisions:  1.1.The World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples (hereinafter: the Congress) is a forum for the representatives of the Finno-Ugric and the Samoyed peoples, which does not depend on governments and political parties and which in its activities relies on the Declaration of the basic co-operation principles, goals and tasks of the Finno-Ugric Peoples of the world. (Syktyvkar, 1992). “

“Not depending on governments” is a false statement. The only way how World Congresses – as we know them – can be held, and activities of the Consultative Committee financed, is with the financial support from governments. Host governments provide principal financing for World Congresses while governments of Estonia, Finland and Hungary have been funding the work of the Consultative Committee (KKFUN). While this in itself does not mean that the discussions of World Congresses are somehow biased in favour of these states, it does mean that the existence of World Congresses very much depends on governments.

More importantly, in particular in Russia authorities of all levels are influencing the composition of Russia’s Finno-Ugric peoples’ delegations, and this year particularly so, making the composition of delegates, and thereby also the content of the discussions dependent on governments.  More about that later.  Let’s now look at the formal aims of World Congresses.

“2. Aims of the Congress:

2.1. Furthering of co-operation between Finno-Ugric peoples, as well as between Finno-Ugric and other peoples in the field of culture, science, education, information, law, ecology, social and political matters and economy;

2.2. Assistance in the development of languages and cultures, as well as the ethnic identity of Finno-Ugric peoples;

2.3. Assistance in the implementation of international norms in the field of human rights, the rights of peoples to self-determination and the rights of indigenous peoples.”

On Aim 2.1: There is a good amount of collaboration in many of these fields, especially culture and science (including Finno-Ugric studies, ethnology, etc.), however almost all of it is unrelated to the World Congresses. To the extent such cooperation between Finno-Ugric peoples is happening, is despite, not due to World Congresses. In these past 6 years I have not heard of a single initiative of the World Congress or Consultative Committee that is “furthering co-operation between Finno-Ugric peoples” in these fields. However, I have seen examples when they fail to further such co-operation.  And I have seen first-hand how new initiatives take off, evolve and become sustainable without any connection to, and support from the World Congresses – whether this is Finno-Ugric Film Festival, Finno-Ugric Wikipedia seminars or Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture.

Let me start with an example of the Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme. At the last World Congress in Siofok I spoke on behalf of MAFUN about this programme, which was still in development phase,  during the Culture section, and managed to get this as a recommendation into the outcome document of Culture Section. MAFUN Board thought that this would be a basis for collaboration between MAFUN and KKFUN, in order to broaden support base for this programme. However at first KKFUN Coordinators did not find time in their busy schedule to discuss this. Later, after multiple efforts by MAFUN leaders, KKFUN formally endorsed the programme at their meeting and agreed on setting up a joint working group. But this is when it all broke down. After MAFUN sent to KKFUN a letter with concrete suggestions on how to work together, there was no response. Nor was there a response to the second and third repeat letters. So, eventually MAFUN gave up on coordinating its activities with KKFUN and did everything alone. Today, this is a sustainable Finno-Ugric intercultural programme that even the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has referred to as a good example of promoting cultural rights of world’s indigenous peoples. On the other hand, the time that myself and MAFUN spent on engaging KKFUN was simply wasted time. Nor has the fact that one of Congress section documents mentioned this initiative made any difference.

On Aims 2.2. and 2.3.: This is where I am at my most critical towards the World Congress system. In principle, both of them are important objectives. Any kind of moral, political and practical assistance by the international Finno-Ugric movement to specific Finno-Ugric peoples facing specific issues should be at the top of the Finno-Ugric movement’s agenda. This is what Finno-Ugric solidarity should be all about. However, this is the area where the World Congress system is failing most miserably.

It is obvious that “assistance” in this context cannot mean just activities conducted during the World Congresses, or Congress resolutions as formal outputs of World Congresses. Speeches, discussions and resolutions by themselves do not / cannot assist anybody. So the only assistance that the World Congress system in theory could provide is by actual advice, and consultations of KKFUN to individual Finno-Ugric peoples, their organizations and activists, in between World Congresses, however consistent with the decisions of World Congress resolutions. But even this is not happening. During these past years I have heard over and over about cases when those activists or organizations that are naïve enough to think that KKFUN can actually provide some support, have received no assistance.  They have either been left without answers to their letters (most typical scenario), or have been informally told that KKFUN cannot in reality influence anything, and that peoples must themselves resolve their issues. The fact that KKFUN operates based on a consensus is not helping it to perform this advisory/consultative role either.

Let me offer a few concrete examples how KKFUN has failed to assist Finno-Ugric peoples:

  • Closing of Mari school in Vaskino. This was a school with an ethno-cultural component in the Vaskino village of Perm region which has an ethnic Mari population. After authorities decided to close down the school, residents of the village began an activism campaign: in media, with authorities, etc. They approached KKFUN several times with requests for a response, consultation, however KKFUN kept silent.
  • Another example from Perm Region. One of the best-organized and most effective Finno-Ugric initiatives of past years were Finno-Ugric Socio-Economic Forums in Perm Region. While organizers were inviting members of KKFUN to participate as experts or just send official greetings, KKFUN never even replied. When local authorities effectively cancelled the 3rd Forum in 2011 by turning off heating from the only hotel in Kudymkar, organizers turned to KKFUN for support, but received no response.
  • And a third example from Izhorians. In 2014, Izhorian and Votic communities began a campaign to protest against the planned construction of carbamide plant around the Ust Luga port and on their traditional lands. One of their first letters was addressed to KKFUN on January 20, 2014, on behalf of Izhorian organization “Shoikula” and Votic Cultural Society. They specifically requested co-operation and assistance. However, they never received an official reply to their letter, let alone assistance. One of the members of the Consultative Committee, Mr. Petr Tultaev, even managed to ridicule Izhorians and Votes by saying that he really does not understand their concerns, and that Mordovians, on the other hand, would be happy if such carbamide plant would be built on their lands. Anywhere else in the world this kind of attitude would be seen as outrageous if stated by a supposed advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights. In the “Finno-Ugric world” nobody even notices, let alone protests.

These are just a few examples but they are part of a general pattern of behaviour of KKFUN – which is to not provide assistance, not to provide support to those who request it. The cognitive dissonance between the stated aims of World Congresses and the reality is mind-boggling.

Also, I find it especially strange to read about World Congress’s commitment to the right of self-determination of peoples, in the light of the next topic, formation of delegations.

“3. Delegates, participants of the Congress

3.1. The delegates of the Congress are freely selected by the peoples, the mechanism for forming of a delegation is not regulated.

3.2. – /…/ The procedures for forming delegations must be transparent and take into consideration the legislation in force of the said country concerning NGOs /…/

On “freely selected by the peoples”.  What does “freely” mean here? To me, this means, free from interference by authorities (national, regional, local). But whoever has followed the events with past, and in particular this World Congress knows that this is simply not true, at least when it comes to Russia.

While in the past this interference has focused on shaping the composition of delegations, this year an additional dimension is their size. There has been a coordinated effort to reduce sizes of delegations to absolute minimum. Overall this strategy has worked:

  • Udmurts: from allowed 20 to 5
  • Maris: from allowed 20 to 7
  • Mordovians: from allowed 20 to 6
  • Karelians: from allowed 20 to 13
  • Komi-Permyak: from allowed 20 to 1

Why am I so certain that this has been a coordinated governmental interference rather than free and voluntary decision of peoples (their representative bodies)? Key to understanding this is the self-adopted “new” role of the Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples of the Russian Federation (AFUN RF) in the planning of the current World Congress. Despite its recently obtained ECOSOC NGO status, AFUN RF does not represent the civil society, but is an instrument of the Russian government, in particular the Federal Agency of Ethnic Affairs.  Membership of AFUN RF has no democratic mandate of the people. Most importantly, AFUN RF has no formal role in the World Congress / Consultative Committee processes according to their documentation.  However, seemingly out of nowhere AFUN RF emerged in 2015 with requests to Russia’s Finno-Ugric peoples’ organizations to avoid direct contact with the Consultative Committee concerning World Congress preparations, and to work only through AFUN RF. At the same time, AFUN RF began making its own requests to the Consultative Committee to shape the agenda of the World Congress by adding topics like “fighting the growing threat of Fascism in some Finno-Ugric countries”. There is written evidence of all of this.

Does anybody really think that ideas like this come from Finno-Ugric peoples themselves, at their own initiative? Nothing but instructions from authorities can explain this kind of behaviour of sidelining individual Finno-Ugric peoples from a process that they are entitled to participate in. Another example of AFUN RF’s aggressive behaviour and meddling in the process is the fact that, for instance, Udmurtian delegation somehow had to be formed from among representatives of AFUN RF, a very strange requirement indeed.  As a result, AFUN RF has effectively usurped the planning of this year’s congress in several if not most of Russia’s Finno-Ugric regions and by doing so, ensured significant government control over the composition of delegations. The result of this is a Congress with neutralized delegations of several Russia’s Finno-Ugric peoples that are composed of delegates who will not publicly express a single critical thought, and maybe no thought at all, at this Congress.

Precise extent of this interference is difficult to measure but personally am convinced that, at the very least delegations of Udmurts, Mordovian peoples, Karelians, Maris and Komi-Permyaks – both in terms of the size and composition – were carefully orchestrated by authorities. These are some of the largest Russia’s Finno Ugric peoples.  The only possible exception to this pattern is Komi delegation which at least was not significantly reduced in size.

Therefore, the notion of delegations being “freely selected by peoples” is absurd, almost an antithesis of the reality. Yet all these delegations are warmly welcomed here in Lahti at Sibelius-Talo, being treated as legitimate representatives of their peoples. They eat, drink and enjoy great cultural programme designed by hosts at the expense of the State of Finland. At the same time many of the best and most effective Finno-Ugric activists, some of whom I have the privilege to know, never had a chance to become members of their peoples’ delegations. My Finno-Ugric solidarity is with them and this is why I am not attending this 7th World Congress.

Based on this one has to ask to what extent the World Congress and Consultative Committee really respects the principle of self-determination of peoples, as stated in Goals 2.3, as there is nothing self-determined in the formation of these delegations.

On 3.2. Nor is the formation of delegations transparent, and this is not just a Russian problem. This has also been an issue in Hungary where some of the most effective Finno-Ugric activists did not receive clear answers why they could not join their people’s delegations and as a result stayed at home.

To conclude on this question, World Congress system is failing in both its general provisions, aims (all 3 of them) as well as in the formation of delegations. It is not meeting its own objectives.

Side benefits of the World Congress?

The next question is whether there are some additional benefits to the World Congress system that make it worthwhile to maintain.

Socializing / Networking  – This is probably the main practical benefit of World Congresses. But can an event be justified by this alone? Not convinced, as there are also many other venues for networking, even though perhaps not so many financed by the state.

Symbolism – The argument goes that symbolically, World Congress is an important event, a show of solidarity/unity of Finno Ugric peoples and world. This symbolism is strengthened by the participation of heads of state, ministers, MPs.  However, symbols are valuable if they adequately represent an underlying “true” state.  In our case, World Congresses are more like misrepresenting the reality. They create an illusion of unity/solidarity when in fact delegates are deeply divided in terms of values and ideologies. For example, I am not certain that delegates would agree even on the fundamental notion of self-determination of Finno-Ugric peoples (as stated in objectives 2.3 of the Regulations document), equality of Finno-Ugric peoples between each other and to all peoples of the world, and that peoples should not take orders from governments. However, without such shared value system there is little that can be achieved with such congresses. A symbol of an illusion is not worth giving.

Tradition –   there is an argument that this is an important tradition, going back even before World War 2 (Finno Ugric cultural congresses) but is this a tradition worth preserving and is it worthwhile taxpayer money spent on it? Because let s not forget that as a purely civic, self-funded initiative this would not be viable.

Are World Congresses harmful for Finno-Ugric peoples?

Final test: EVEN if the World Congress does not really meet its objectives, and EVEN if there is little value added / spillover effects, is there anything harmful/negative/problematic about World Congresses (for Finno-Ugric peoples)? Because if not, then why not keep it going on an auto-pilot, after all they not THAT expensive to maintain?

On the surface the answer would be “no”. It appears as a rather harmless system. No lives lost, no physical suffering caused. But if one digs deeper, several negative “undercurrents” can be identified.

  • SENSE OF INJUSTICE. Interference of authorities creates a sense of injustice among legitimate activists who deserve to, would like to but are unable to represent their people. Lots of discontent out there, however often hidden, because affected people are afraid to speak out publicly.
  • UNDEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE. Democracy is not only rule of the majority. This also includes certain practices that are accepted as democratic, one such being term limits. However, Chair of KKFUN Mr. Valery Markov is currently completing his 6th term. This could qualify as democracy in Zimbabwe but not in the Finno-Ugric world.
  • EROSION OF DIGNITY. Government control of the formation of peoples’ delegations is a violation of the fundamental right to self-determination of these peoples, to the extent that they indeed identify as distinct peoples. World Congresses are a reminder that they are not subjects with collective rights, but instead objects and instruments of government policies.

Based on above, I conclude that the system of World Congresses is seriously broken. This leads to the next question: can it still be repaired or is it beyond rescue? An objective answer to this may not be possible, but my personal view today is that the World Congress system is beyond repair. The reason being that some of the most fundamental elements of this system are simply not realistic to attain. This includes:

  • The claim of representativeness of Finno-Ugric peoples at World Congresses – not feasible because of government interference and additional socio-economic factors.
  • Consultative Committee as a reactionary, inwardly-oriented body that has not been able to mobilize itself to solve specific problems of specific Finno Ugric peoples
  • Marginalization of the World Congress from real and positive developments and initiatives of the Finno-Ugric world has gone too far.

As a result, in my view World Congresses as we know them should be stopped or at least suspended for some time. There is no need to hold an 8th World Congress of Finno-Ugric peoples in Tartu, or anywhere else. But what could take their place? What would a constructive alternative?

I see more potential in an open Finno-Ugric forum of concerned individuals – representing themselves and perhaps their organizations. This would allow to get rid of the false claim of representativeness associated with the World Congresses. Such forums would have no lofty goals, no pathos, no presidents or ministers, no quotas for participants. These could be just venues to share, discuss, debate, but also to celebrate the diverse Finno-Ugric cultures and the great humanistic idea of Finno-Ugric identity and solidarity. These forums should aim to become self-financing, however financial support from host states, regions or cities would be welcome.  Such forums would not adopt any formal resolutions that are anyway not followed through / implemented. Instead of every 4 years, they could take place annually, thus creating even stronger bonds between participants, and reacting to current events on both local and global levels.

Thank you!

Oliver Loode

My Introductory Notes to Indigenous Peoples’ Panel at Annual Human Rights Conference in Tallinn (Dec. 10, 2014)

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The topic of this panel discussion is „Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Theory and Practice“

A key issue/problem for the ovewhelming majority of world’s 370 million indigenous persons is that the „global theory“ about the rights of indigenous peoples (IP-s) markedly differs from local, practical realities.

In theory, there exists a global consensus on the minimum standards of the rights of IP-s. This consensus is manifested above all in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted in 2007 that has by now been endorsed by 150 states, with no state publicly objecting to it. This document also enjoys broad respect of IP-s. Most recently the importance of UNDRIP was reaffirmed in the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoles (WCIP) that was, interestingly, supported even by states that have not explicitly endorsed UNDRIP.

In practice, however, there are few if any states with IP populations that fully follow the principles of UNDRIP, let alone those who have raised the bar higher.

Implementation of UNDRIP has been uneven. While there is one state (Bolivia) that has codified UNDRIP into national law, for most other states UNDRIP appears to have more of a recommendational character, some calling it an „aspirational document“.

In practice, there are as many intepretations and levels of implementation of UNDRIP (more generally rights of IP-s) as there are states. More often than not, implementation lags behind the states’ rhetoric.

As a result, daily realities faced by indigenous rights activists – on whatever continent, in both „developing“ and „developed“ world – differ greatly from the polished speeches that can be heard in the halls of the United Nations HQ. These local realities can be quite grim and gritty, as in many countries indigenous activists confronting powerful economic and political interests are criminalized and subjected to violence.

Many indigenous peoples constantly face discrimination, racism and negative stereotyping, and not only by the state, but by the society as a whole, reflecting centuries-old mistrust and hostility between the dominant group and indigenous peoples.

Much too often indigenous peoples, e.g, those objecting to major industrial development projects on their traditional lands are not consulted or engaged in decision-making according to the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) – a key principle behind UNDRIP.

Many of these peoples have nowhere to go or nobody to call for help/advice as their own governments and courts effectively collude with the corporations, and international mechanisms are not (yet) equipped to deal with concrete problems of concrete peoples.

This does not mean that practical indigenous activism is futile or without successes – quite the opposite, we are hearing about more and more successful local actions. It’s just that the practical work of an IP right activist can be a world apart from the promise of international law and human rights instruments, such as UNDRIP.

To truly understand the state of the human rights of IP-s we need to talk about both the global-theoretical and local-practical sides of the equation. This in turn allows us to understand the gap that still remains between the two sides. More importantly, it can inform a debate about what can be done to reduce if not altogether close that gap. This is also the focus today’s discussion.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I invite to the stage our panelists who represent both the theoretical and practical perspectives, both global and local expertise with respect to the rights of IP-s, and all of whom are indigenous: Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Dr. Pavel Sulyandziga, Mr. Mustafa Dzhemilev, Ms. Valentina Sovkina and Mr. Dmitry Harakka-Zaitsev.

More information about the panel’s speakers, photo gallery and soon video of the entire panel here.

Kafkaesque Russian Foreign Policy, Or What Are Young Finno-Ugrians Guilty Of?

(Originally published on URALISTICA)

„Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.“

Thus begins Franz Kafka’s famous novel, „The Trial“, where the protagonist Josef K. is prosecuted for a crime that neither he nor his accusers appear to know about. Sadly, these kinds of situations are not only a matter of fiction. A case in point is Russia’s recent bizarre behaviour towards leaders of its indigenous peoples in advance of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) – a high-level plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held on September 22-23 in New York.

By now it has been thoroughly documented how several indigenous activists from Russia, including Mr. Rodion Sulyandziga, Ms. Anna Naikanchina and Ms. Valentina Sovkina – all of whom are important and well-known figures in the international indigenous peoples’ scene –  were prevented to leave Russia to attend WCIP, a landmark conference dedicated to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Methods used ranged from blowing up car tires to ripping off pages in passports to prevent departure to New York, during the period Sept 18 – 21. To my knowledge, these kinds of acts were committed towards at least six Russia’s indigenous participants of the conference (not counting the violent attack on Mr. Nadir Bekirov, a Crimean Tatar activist, that took place in occupied Crimea) ; the true count may be higher as not all activists dare to make their story public. Taken together, these acts appear to be part of a coordinated campaign that could have only been sponsored by the Russian state (via one or more of its institutions).

The resulting damage to Russia’s international reputation from these incidents has been massive. It has been covered on front pages of news channels such as BBC Russian Service and Al Jazeera America, has received condemnation of several heads of state, UN officials and human rights watchdogs. Not to speak of the waves of contempt among indigenous delegates at WCIP from all over the world who consider their fellow activists from Russia not just colleagues, but brothers and sisters.

In fact this scandal has become the bigger story with respect to the conference than the long-awaited adoption of an important outcome document calling for states to do more to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (which, incidentally, was adopted with Russia’s consent).

There are two important unanswered questions for me regarding these incidents. Firstly, which state institution(s) ordered and/or approved them?  And secondly, what precisely was the crime committed, or threat presented by these indigenous activists that merited such harsh treatment, violating their rights to free movement and preventing them from performing their civic responsibilities in front of their NGOs, and even more importantly, their peoples – indigenous peoples of Russia? These questions are not only relevant for the relatively compact community of indigenous activists, but for the Russian society at large. Indigenous peoples are some of the most vulnerable people in all societies, in both so-called developing and developed world. The way a state treats the weaker and disadvantaged parts of its population says something important about its values and moral core.

Let’s start with the question who commissioned these acts.  Shortly after the conference I have heard opinions that this may have been a rough job by FSB that had not been coordinated with Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). As for the role of FSB, this is almost indisputable as it was reportedly FSB officers who invalidated the passports of Mr. Sulyandziga and Ms. Naikanchina at Sheremetyevo Airport.  Questions remain however about the role of Russia’s MFA. Some participants of WCIP have reported genuine surprise by Mr. Gennadi Gatilov (Vice-Minister of MFA and head of the official Russian delegation at WCIP) upon hearing during opening plenary session from Mr. Sauli Niinistö (President of Finland) that several activists from Russia had been prevented from attending the conference. Soon thereafter the entire official Russian delegation left the room to discuss the situation, and allegedly Mr. Gatilov placed a call to Mr. Sergei Lavrov (Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs), to inform him about this situation. Clearly, what had just transpired in the halls of the United Nations General Assembly, had become something of an international scandal and a public embarrasment for Russia.

Whether or not this particular crackdown campaign on indigenous activists between September 18-21 was in fact unknown by Russia’s MFA is something of a mystery, and may remain so for a while. However, what has not been reported to date is that these were not isolated events coming out of nowhere, but that they was preceded by acts of similar kind, albeit of softer nature – and this time, with the active participation of the MFA, thus directly reflecting Russia’s foreign policy towards indigenous peoples.

The key to understanding this lies in MFA’s behaviour towards two organizations associated with the so-called Finno-Ugric movement – Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) and „Komi Voityr“, the national movement of Komi people, well in advance of the WCIP.

As a matter background, the Finno-Ugric movement is a loose network of non-governmental organizations and civic activists who share the common goal of preserving and promoting languages and cultural heritage of Finno-Ugric and Samoyed peoples, many of whom reside in the Russian Federation and can be considered indigenous by both international and Russian domestic standards.  The key event of the Finno-Ugric movement is the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples that takes place every four years, and that has been attended by Presidents of Russian Federation, Hungary, Estonia and Finland – i.e., countries with the largest populations of Finno-Ugric peoples.

During the first week of August, ie more than a month before the Conference, Office of the President of the UN General Assembly Nations sent to diplomatic missions at the UN a list with indigenous NGOs that had registered for the conference, giving UN member states a possibility to comment on, and if needed, object to the participation of specific NGOs.

Great majority of the NGOs in the list received no objections from any member states. However, two NGOs whose participation had been objected to included the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) and Komi Voityr. Given that one of them (Komi Voityr) is based in Russia, and the other (MAFUN) an international umbrella association with significant membership from Russia, the only suspect for this action was the Russian Federation. I have subsequently confirmed with multiple UN officials familiar with the matter, that it was Russia (and no other state) that objected to the participation of these two NGOs, offering no or extremely vague rationale for its objections.  It would be therefore disingenuous for the Russian MFA to claim that they have not been involved in suppressing participation of indigenous NGOs in advance of WCIP. Personally I consider that one led to another, and what happened with indigenous activists on August 18-21 was a harsher version of the same policy that was earlier applied towards Finno-Ugric organizations.

Coming to my second question, what exactly was the guilt, or perceived threat presented by these two Finno-Ugric organizations? For the sake of brevity, let me focus here on one of them: MAFUN – an organization that I have been involved in as a Board Member, and continue to collaborate with.

According to its Statutes, key goals of of MAFUN – founded in 1990 and thus being the oldest international Finno-Ugric organization – are to encourage cooperation between the youth of Finno-Ugric and Samoyed peoples, preserve and develop their languages and culture, and to protect their rights. (RUS: http://www.mafun.mol-rm.ru/index.php/en/2011-08-29-08-41-38 /). MAFUN’s real-life activities are consistent with its stated goals.

The flagship project initiated and led by MAFUN is „Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture“ – a programme oriented at Finno-Ugric villages in order to stimulate their socio-economic development, to raise awareness of Finno-Ugric languages and peoples, and to strengthen a common Finno-Ugric identity. This year, the first Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture has been an Udmurtian village of Bygy that has organized several cultural festivals, for example a festival of Finno-Ugric cuisines „Byg-Byg“.  As a result of this year, the village of Bygy is on a faster development track both in terms of culture, civil society and infastructure. This is hardly subversive activity endangering the statehood or territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, quite the opposite. Stronger villages make a stronger Russian nation and state. Therefore, through its activities MAFUN is making a public service to Russia for what it deserves acknowledgement rather than harassment by its government.

As a board member of MAFUN representing in Estonia during 2011-2013, I cannot recall a single MAFUN event that would have included criticism of the Russian state (not to be mixed up with critical reasoning on many topics relevant to Finno-Ugric peoples and youth). This is only logical – MAFUN’s activists from Russia who make up majority of the organization are loyal and proud citizens of their country and would not tolerate an anti-Russian agenda in this organization. MAFUN is an apolitical organization in both letter and deed. Rather than engaging in anti-Russian rants, MAFUN activists like to sing their national songs and have a plain old good time, as youth always do. While organizationally MAFUN is rather weak (it is not formally registered nor has its own money), its 18-member board manages to meet 3-4 times a year, MAFUN’s representatives have attended annual sessions of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York since 2011, and every two years MAFUN holds its congress that adopts a resolution (the latest resolution can be read here.  Nothing subversive there, either.

With this in mind, what precisely has MAFUN done wrong to deserve an objection from the Russian Federation to attend the WCIP?

The only „guilt“ of MAFUN that I can conceive is its independence – specifically, independence from Russia’s power vertical. Current President of MAFUN, Sampsa Holopainen, a Finnish Ph.D. student of Finno-Ugric Studies at the University of Helsinki is hardly one to take orders from official Moscow (or for that matter, Tallinn or Helsinki). Nor is there any censorship within MAFUN: its board members – whether from Russia, Finland or Estonia – are free to speak their minds at both domestic and international events, including at the United Nations.  Is this – the threat of independent thought and free expression by genuine civil society – what the Russian Federation is afraid of, and what would explain its repressive, disrespectful behaviour towards its own indigenous civic activists who only want the best for their peoples and country?

This is a sad story and certainly not Russia’s finest hour. However, I still remain hopeful that there exist reasonable and intelligent officials at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – whether in Moscow or at its UN mission New York – who can see through this Kafkaesque absurdity of its behaviour towards its own indigenous peoples, and will gradually start steering its country in the right direction that is, first and foremost, in the interest of Russia itself.

Crimean Tatar activist Nadir Bekirov attacked en route to WCIP – unable to attend.

This is the full text of the statement by leading Crimean Tatar activist, Mr. Nadir Bekirov, who has been subjected to a violent attack in Crimea while he was en route to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held on Sept 22-23 in New York. Four masked men took away Mr. Bekirov’s Ukrainian internal passport and mobile phone, thus disabling his attendance at WCIP and greatly complicating his life in Crimea. It is also known that there has been at least one UN member state that protested the participation of Mr. Bekirov’s NGO – the International Organization Foundation for Research and Support of Indigenous Peoples of Crimea – at WCIP. It is obvious which state it was, and which state is behind the attack on Mr. Bekirov.  This is a criminal state that, under its current leadership, should have no place in the community of nations.

Here’s the full statement by Mr. Bekirov:

The description of the fact of

the attack against Indigenous Crimean Tatar People activist Nadir Bekirov

Crime, Ukraine, territory controlled by Russia

and its consequences

20.09.2014

Simferopol City, Crimea

Mr. Nadir Bekirov 13.03.1962, PhD, professional jurist and University Teacher, President of International Organization Foundation for Research and Support of Indigenous Peoples of Crimea, one of the well-known activist of Indigenous Crimean Tatar People, 2003-2008 member of Board of Trustees of UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations.

Since 1994 he regularly took part at the sessions of WGIP, WGDD, WGPF, PFII, WIPO IGC and range of international meetings relating to Indigenous Issues

On the Decision of Board of Trustees of UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations has become a grantee for the participation at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which should take place at NY 22-23 of September 2014.

18.09.2014 he departed from his place of residence in Simferopol (Crimea, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simferopol ) going to the Simferopol’s railway station (http://wikitravel.org/en/Simferopol ), where from he had to go to Kiev, Borispol airport the point of departure to New-York. He ordered car at the “Teletaxi” firm, the car was light blue ”Ford” number AA 3142, name of the driver Aleksander Ivanovich. He left his house at 04.15 p.m. on local (Moscow) time together with his family: wife Mrs. Khalide Kurtbelyalova and 4 years old son Batyr Bekirov, which were going to follow him till railway station. Due to extreme traffic problems for the stamps at the roads Mr. Bekirov decided by the way not to go the Simferopol railway station but to move to next after Simferopol station of the train of Dzhankoy City (approximately 70 kilometers to the North from Simferopol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzhankoy ). The car speed about 120km/an hour allowed to go ahead the train and to meet it in Dzhankoy before its arrival. It has been approximately at 04.30 p.m. i.e. 15 minutes before the departure of train from Simferopol railway station. Dzhankoy City is a place, where the Russian Border Guard check-point is placed after Crimea was taken by Russian authorities at the March of 2014.

The family left taxi near the Kujbyshev square in Simferopol and Mr. Bekirov continued to go further with the taxi driver.

The taxi car moved ahead. After the car had passé the turn to Amurskoe village (41 km from Simferopol to the North, (http://allcrimea.net/spravka/Krasnogvardeisky-region/Amurskoe/ ) on the road Yalta-Kharkov-Moscow it was outrun by dark violet-blue colored minibus without windows from back and both sides and registration plate, which began to decelerate in front of the taxi. Minibus was Volkswagen Transporter.

The taxi driver stopped the car despite there was an opportunity to turn the minibus from left or right side. Several moments later four people jumped out of the minibus. They were put on in jeans short trousers and t-shirts. The heads and shoulders were covered by knitted black masks with the slit for the eyes. One of them ran to the door near of the driver the rest three to the door, where Nadir Bekirov was sitting. Those three started to cry Out of Car! Go Out! Lay Down! To Ground! It had been happened approximately at 05.05 p.m.

Mr. Bekirov did not resisted actively because being Human Rights Indigenous activists supposed that it may be special provocation turned to accuse him later at the attack against civilians or police, or otherwise the police mistake confused him with somebody wanted by police. Instead he repeated several times “who are you? Introduce yourself!” because both the Russian and Ukrainian legislation demand the Police servants and officers have to introduce themselves to the people, while dealing on their business.

Continuing to cry and puling Mr. Bekirov from the car those unknowns pushed him down to the ground. One of them kicked Mr. Bekirov to the liver area. They turned him with his face down and somebody began to search his pockets. Practically immediately he had found the Mr. Bekirov’s internal Ukrainian passport*, which was placed at t he internal left pocket of the waistcoat and handled it to another one. The last one open the passport, read the passport data and had cried loudly “Yes! Right!” Just after that all attackers left Mr. Bekirov on the ground and rapidly ran back to their minibus. Minibus started to move and went towards Dzhankoy City by the same road.

Mr. Bekirov stood up and again sat down to his place in the car. That time he discovered, than not only passport but the mobile phone disappeared as well. Before the attack it was placed at the external left pocket of the waist. It was Samsung Duos terminal with open access to Internet. So attackers had got a possibility to enter to Mr. Bekirov Gmail and Facebook accounts.

Taxi driver was or showed to be shocked and got rattled very much. “What it was?” he asked from Mr. Bekirov. “You saw yourself. It was an attack.” Mr. Bekirov answered. “What should we do?” the driver asked. “They have taken my keys and turf them!” After that the driver went out of the car and looked for the keys at the roadside. He found them soon.

Mr. Bekirov asked the driver to turn to Amurskoe village in order to find any representatives of authorities. They reached Amurskoe village Council office (Selsovet) approximately at 05.15 p.m. The office was closed but the ground floor room was open because electoral commission occupied it due to the last week elections in Crimea. The Secretary of Local Electoral Comission met Mr. Bekirov in good manner and proposed to use phone connection.

Mr. Bekirov called to the local Police Station< which is at  Krasnogvardejkoe Town (http://crimeamap.ru/krasnogvardeyskoe/#ll=34.197177,45.307777&z=12&mt=map, https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CA%F0%E0%F1%ED%EE%E3%E2%E0%F0%E4%E5%E9%F1%EA%E8%E9_%F0%E0%E9%EE%ED_%28%CA%F0%FB%EC%29). He reported them about attack and asked for the help and for the searching of the minibus, which attackers used. He described to police the omens of that minibus and of attackers. They officer on duty gave several questions and promised to help.

It was approximately at 05.20 p.m.

After the half of an hour the several policemen had come to the village council building. Mr. Bekirov used that time to call to his mobile operator in order to block his phone card trying to prevent the access of robbers to his database in the phone terminal. Finally it took more that one hour to convence the mobile firm to do it.

The police officers were6 the Chief of Police of Krasnogvardeyskoye Region, his Deputy, one operative officer, expert and investigator. The asked Mr. Bekirov about the incident. It took approximately half of an hour.

To the question what was a reason or motivation of the attack Mr. Bekirov answered that it has to be only his public activity. To the question of what public activity Mr. Bekirov briefly described his pro-Indigenous activism and specially pointed invitation to two last undertaking^ World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and meeting of OSCE, which should take place I E\Warsaw at 28-30 of September 2014, where the situation of Ethnic and National Minorities to be discussed. Police officer asked should Mr. Bekirov make presentations at those meetings. Mr. Bekirov answered that it is rather probable.

To the question, why his passport and phone were stolen unlike other belongings, Mr. Bekirov answered that by his opinion it was not just criminal attack. It was politically motivated action with the purpose to prevent his going to those meetings first of all, to frighten Nadir Bekirov for his pro-Indigenous activism and to prevent him to go out of Crimea in future in principle because without Ukrainian passport nobody is able to pass the border between Crimea and continental Ukraine. Neither Russian nor Ukrainian Boarder Guard will allow it.

To the question, who might be interested in that case Mr. Bekirov answered that those people, who are against the recognition of the Rights of Crimean Tatars as Indigenous People of Crimea or against Mr. Bekirov to have an opportunity to go out of Crimea by some reasons.

Simultaneously police officers asked the taxi driver, who was nervous and permanently asked to let him to go away.

The fingerprints were taken as from car surface as from Mr. Bekirov and driver.

Mr. Bekirov proposed firstly to go to the scene of crime and to look for the traces of deceleration because darkness was coming. The investigator refused to do it without any explanations and suggested to write the formal appeal and to pass formal interrogation.

After that the formal procedure of interrogation had begun. The official investigator gave the blank of official communication about the crime, and later fulfilled the separate blank of interrogation.

After these actions all team had gone to the place of the attack and composed the protocol of the inspection of the scene of crime. The photos were made despite of the darkness.

All procedures had been finished approximately at 08.30 p.m.

At the very end Mr. Bekirov asked the investigator was the measures undertaken to identify and to find the minibus. The answer was not yet. To the question “why?’ the investigator had not reacted.

Taxi driver left a place with the permission of Police. After that Mr. Bekirov had come back to his house in Simferopol with the car of his friend, who came to pick him up by the phone call.

*Most of post-Soviet countries still have two kinds of passports. There is so called “Internal passport”, which is similar to the different kinds of ID but in fact ismore important document because the data, which are placed in it allow to the owner to pass free on the country, tobe registered in different social and medicalinstitutions,to make buyings, to have credits, to apply officially to the authorities etc. Without this internal passport he people is treated by authorities and private sector as un-identified person without political, civil, economic, social and other rights, if even they have verified information about the person. Most of deals and judicial acts are possible only if the people demonstrate his internal passport and the data are fixed after that in all newly issued documents.

“External” or “abroad” passport plays the same role as passports in other countries. This is a document to receive a visa and to travel between countries.

The consequences of the incident

  1. Bekirov has no chance to come and to take part as at the session of UN GA named “World Conference on Indigenous Peoples” 22-23/09/2014 as at the meeting OSCE in Warsaw on Ethnic and National Minorities 28-30.09.2014,
  2. In future Mr. Bekirov basically has no the possibility to go out of Crimean peninsula for any reason (not only abroad but even to continental Ukraine or even Russia) because in order to pass Crimean peninsula/Ukraine line he must to demonstrate his passport to Russian (from Crimean side) and Ukrainian Boarder Guards (from continental Ukrainian side)/ Both of them not only to stop him without passport but arrest him and accuse as the people, who tried illegally to pass a boarder if not in espionage or terrorism particularly taking into consideration the relations between these two States in present time.
  3. Without passport ne can’t to go out of Crimea to the continental Russia via Kerch Chanel because Russian Police damans to demonstrate his passport before the ferry crossing with the same approach and consequences mentioned above.
  4. Without passport Mr. Berkirov is unable to by the ticket for plane or train both by the Russian and Ukrainian Law even for internal trip.
  5. Slowly but inescapably other consequences will appear and manifest. In the cases of address to any private or government instance practically by any reason Mr. Bekirov will be rejected to react because he cannot present his passport. Vice versa in any case of official claims or requirements to Mr. Bekirov from the government or local authorities and very often by private instances he cannot defend his rights legally without the demonstration of his internal passport. In some cases he may be punished by fine or administrative arrest for the lack of official ID. No labor contract, no receiving of post mails, no taking of money transfer or money from bank account may be done without it and the range of these social consequences is to long to be showed here.
  6. Bekirov has not internal Russian passport yet. But in case if he would apply to Russian authorities for that he may be refused because the procedure is that he must to give them first of all his acting ID, which means Ukrainian internal Passport. Another problem is that if Mr. Bekirov will receive Russian internal Passport he perhaps will be able to solve some personal social problems but in no case he will receive an access to go to continental Ukraine and abroad. The law of Ukraine “Onthe ensuring of rights and freedomsof citizens andlegal regimeforthe temporarily occupiedterritory ofUkraine” in its article 10 establishes that citizens of Ukraine may enter the territory of Ukraine from Crimea only having the ID and document proving their Ukrainian citizenship i.e. Ukrainian passport. Russian passport cannot be the legal document to pass the boarder for the residents of Crimea. It even may be used as a predict for the suspicions in a kind of illegal intentions.
  7. The restoration of Ukrainian passport is possible on the territory controlled by Ukrainian Government. The entrance/access to that territory from “occupied territories” without Ukrainian passport is impossible.

So consequences of this operation against Indigenous activist Nadir Bekirov go far beyond the prevention of his participation in these two very important international meetings. The legal consequences of deprivation of his internal Ukrainian passport from one hand produce rather hard social situation for him and his family, which may be evaluated as kind of vengeance for his pro-Human Rights and Indigenous activities. From other hand they overload him by these problems in rder to stop his pro-Indigenous activity and public position.

Statement at the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament (SHORT version)

On the work of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in extractive industries and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Distinguished Members of the European Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you for the invitation to address the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament as a Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). This is a valuable opportunity for me to share with you the work of UNPFII in one of the most crucial themes for indigenous peoples: the impact of extractive industries. I will also comment on the preparations for the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) as it relates to extractive industries, and on the study on Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Industries and Human Rights by Dr. Julian Burger.

UNPFII AND UNDRIP

UNPFII is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted in September 2007 by the UN General Assembly is the most advanced and comprehensive international instrument on indigenous peoples’ rights. It builds on existing human rights enshrined in international human rights treaties and embodies global consensus on indigenous peoples’ rights.

UNDRIP mandates the United Nations, its bodies, including UNPFII and specialized agencies, to promote respect for and full application of the provisions of UNDRIP and follow up on its effectiveness.

Extractive industries

As we are aware, on many occasions extractive industries have violated the rights of indigenous peoples as stated in UNDRIP, especially rights related to lands, territories and resources, but in some instances even the right to life. Often these violations occur as a result of a collusion between extractive corporations and States, with indigenous peoples left on the sidelines or entirely removed from the planning and decision-making process. As Prof. James Anaya, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Righs of Indigenous Peoples, has stated, “the prevailing model of resource extraction is one in which an outside company, with backing by the State, controls and profits from the extractive operation, with the affected indigenous peoples at best being offered benefits in the form of jobs or community development projects that typically pale in economic value in  comparison to profits gained by the corporation”.

 

UNPFII and Extractive Industries

Responding to the concerns raised by indigenous peoples at UNPFII sessions, in 2009 the UNPFII organized an Expert Group Meeting on extractive industries, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and corporate social responsibility. At the meeting, held in Manila, indigenous peoples reported  that some businesses have caused or contributed to adverse impacts on indigenous peoples’ rights: and in some cases such impact has been irremediable.

The expert group meeting recommended that States “review laws and policies and structures on extractive industries that are detrimental to indigenous peoples, and ensure consistency with the UNDRIP and other international instruments protecting the rights of indigenous peoples”. The Meeting also recommended States to “ensure that the legislation governing the granting of concessions includes provisions on consultation, free, prior and informed consent, in line with international standards and which recognize the right of indigenous peoples to say no”.

UNPFII has since then adopted several recommendations on extractive industries. In 2009, UNPFII called upon States and corporations to fully recognize the presence and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes relating to the entry of extractive industries into their communities consistent with UNDRIP. In 2012 UNPFII called upon States to uphold the right to the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and avoid, minimize and adjudicate disputes arising from extractive industries projects.

What has been the impact of these recommendations? No thorough assessment has been conducted to date. However, we know that some Member States, including Finland, Spain, Bolivia and Mexico, have reported to the Forum certain level of compliance with its recommendations on extractive industries.

Individual Members of UNPFII have prepared specific reports on the impact of extractive industries, including concerning Mexico and Australia. Members of UNPFII and the Secretariat worked together with the United Nations Global Compact in the Business Reference Guide on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was launched in 2013. This handbook provides guidance for business – including extractive industries – to understand, respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples by illustrating how these rights are relevant to business activities.

Members of UNPFII have also participated in the sessions of the OHCHR Forum on Human Rights and Business advocating for the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ rights into the work conducted by this important Forum.

I am confident that UNPFII remains committed to discussing the impacts of extractive industries on the rights of indigenous peoples and will offer the topic due attention during its future annual sessions, recommendations and other channels.

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

From 22 to 23 September 2014 the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) will be organized by the UN General Assembly in NY. The World Conference will be attended by Heads of State and Governments, Ministers, and other high level officials. The Conference will be an opportunity to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples.

During the consultation to gather input for the outcome document of the World Conference, indigenous peoples frequently raised their concerns over the activities of transnational corporations and the impact of their activities in the exercise of their rights. The draft outcome document makes a concrete reference to extractive industries and indigenous peoples in its Paragraph 18:

“We, the Heads of State and Government, Ministers and representatives of Member States (…)

Commit to address the impact of major development projects, including extractive industries, on indigenous peoples and to ensure transparency and benefit sharing. The rights of indigenous peoples regarding development of lands, territories and resources, will be incorporated into law, policies and practices.”

During the informal interactive hearings there have been proposals to strengthen as well as to weaken paragraph 18. For example, a State proposed to add the commitment “to protect indigenous peoples from the abuses and violations of their human rights by transnational corporations”. Others, including the European Union proposed to change the language and instead of committing “to address the impact of major development projects” they proposed to “commit to conduct studies in consultation with indigenous peoples…”. Another State suggested to include the phrase at the end of the paragraph: “according to relevant national legislation”.

At this stage of the process, only Member States are able to influence the content of the outcome document. The negotiations to agree on its content are currently ongoing. It is expected and hoped that the standards set out in UNDRIP will be maintained, and its implementation outlined. It is of essence that the wording of Paragraph 18 will not be weakened during these final two weeks of negotiations.

Study on Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Industries and Human Rights

I enthusiastically welcome the Draft Study on Indigenous Peoples, extractive industries and human rights, commissioned by this Subcommittee and prepared by Dr. Julian Burger, noting that this document invites the European Union to comply with the international standards set out in UNDRIP.

I find the recommendations contained in the Study highly relevant. In particular I support the following recommendations: a) that EU Member States include reference to indigenous peoples in their Business and Human Rights National Action Plans; b) Proposal to establish a grievance mechanism where indigenous peoples can address allegations of European corporate violations of their rights and c) Strengthening or extending EU’s legislation so that corporations involved in extractive industries – both European companies as well as foreign corporations operating on the European market – can be held accountable for violations of indigenous peoples’ rights.

I look forward for the European Union to thoroughly analyze and follow up on the recommendations contained in the study in order to better protect world’s indigenous peoples from harmful impacts of extractive industries. This is an opportunity for the EU to raise the bar not only for itself and its 28 member states, but also to provide a model for other regional inter-governmental agencies to follow and/or adapt to their unique circumstances.

In conclusion, I am confident that UNPFII remains open for a continuing dialogue and collaboration with the European Parliament in matters concerning rights and well-being of indigenous peoples.

Thank you.

Oliver Loode

Member, UNPFII

For a full text of the statement, click Loode Statement Extractive Industries EP 11.09.2014 FULL.