Russian delegates denied exit from country to participate in World Conference
Thursday 18 September, going through passport control in Moscow airport to board his plane to New York, the passport of Rodion Sulyandziga, indigenous Udege from Eastern Siberia, was confiscated for closer inspection. When he got his passport back, a page was missing and on this ground he was denied permission to leave the country.
Rodion Sulyandziga is the Director for the Centre for the support of the indigenous peoples of the North and member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Coordinating Group for the World Conference. He was on his way to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples as a representative of the Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Transcaucasia indigenous region, where he was assigned to co-chair the roundtable on Indigenous Peoples´ lands, territories and resources together with New Zealand’s Minister of Maori Affairs, H.E. Dr. Pita Sharples.
Another member of the indigenous peoples’ delegation from Russia will also be absent today. Anna Naikanchina, former vice-chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, was hindered from leaving the Russian Federation as well. Also Valentina Sovkina, President of the Kola Saami Parliament together with a fellow Saami activist missed the first day of the meeting. Their travel from Murmansk region to the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, from where they were scheduled to fly was accompanied by multiple assaults and harassments: Car tyres were cut, they were stopped by traffic police for several hours and an attempt was made to snatch Sovkina’s belongings.
Today the Russian Federation, together with the other member states of the UN has adopted an outcome document confirming the rights of indigenous peoples and committing to further the implementation of their rights at national and local level.
As these latest incidences of repression of the rights of indigenous peoples in Russia show, the reality for indigenous peoples on the ground is less welcoming.
Back in Russia, Rodion Sulyandziga is facing a court case. ”I cannot give up and will be fighting for my rights and indigenous peoples’ rights,” says Rodion.
Global expression of concern
The Global Indigenous Caucus in New York is expressing serious concerns about this urgent situation, which was also condemned by the President of Finland, the President of Estonia, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ms. Dalee Sambo, today at the Opening Plenary of the General Assembly.
IWGIA is deeply concerned that indigenous delegates have been prevented from participating in this very important international meeting. Preventing indigenous peoples from enjoying their right to participation in decision-making processes is in stark contrast to the spirit of the World Conference and to the commitments expressed in the Outcome Document adopted today.
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