International Day of Indigenous Peoples

Comment on the International Day of Indigenous Peoples by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Ethno-national unity and traditionally tolerant relations between all nationalities, including indigenous peoples of Ukraine – Crimean Tatars, Karaims and Krymchaks are one of the pillars of the state policy of Ukraine. That was proven by the adoption last year by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Law of Ukraine «On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine» initiated by the President Volodymyr Zelenskyii as well as by the election in April this year of the representative of Ukraine Suleiman Mamutov to the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) for 2023-2025.

Remaining adherent to its principles and international obligations, Ukraine has been fighting for the full restoration of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples who are discriminated against on ethnic and religious grounds by the russian authorities in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol for the ninth year in a row. We will continue this struggle in particular, within the framework of the Crimean platform, established last year in cooperation with our international partners under the initiative of the President of Ukraine. We will not stop as long as the destruction of the original culture and self-governing structures of the Crimean Tatars, political persecution and repression, enforced disappearances and torture, forced mobilization to the russian army and other components of the occupation policy aimed at the gradual displacement of the indigenous people from their native land – the Crimean Peninsula – are going on.

It is worth mentioning that after two decades of representing the regional group within the UNPFII, russia was defeated for the first time in re-election to the membership of this respected international body. Fair enough, as for more than six years, the aggressor country has been shamelessly ignoring the decision of the UN International Court of Justice on the immediate restoration of rights of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. Despite the decision mentioned, russian occupants continue to prohibit the entry of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov to the occupied peninsula, keeping in illegal detention more than 120 Ukrainian citizens from Crimea, predominantly – Crimean Tatars, including the First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Nariman Dzhelal, who was arrested on trumped-up charges.

Moreover, the unprovoked full-scale russian military invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022, has ultimately confirmed that for a terrorist country, the norms and principles of international law mean nothing. The only possible way to protect the rights and freedoms of all peoples and citizens residing on the territory of Ukraine and to eliminate the potential threat from russia’s aggressive policy, is to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state within its internationally recognized borders as of 1991 and to create an effective global security system.

On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples we call on the international community to take decisive steps to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and preserve their identity, to consolidate efforts in order to efficiently counteract the chauvinistic kremlin policy, targeting representatives of indigenous peoples of Ukraine, as well as indigenous peoples of the russian federation itself, whom the russian authorities actively recruit into the security forces and use to realize their aggressive neo-imperialistic ambitions.

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