The 15th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) was held in Geneva last week
From the first day, activist Yana Tannagasheva (https://www.instagram.com/yana_tann/) of the NGO “Revival of the Kazas and Shorian People” participated in the Expert Mechanism and spoke about the problems of indigenous peoples in Russia: destruction of living spaces for mining, persecution of activists, harassment, etc. Also ICIPR (International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia) activists raised the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine and militarisation of indigenous lands (https://indigenous-russia.com/).
At the same time, at the same Expert Mechanism, the official Russian delegation was present and engaged in inappropriate behaviour: on the first day, a government representative approached Yana during her speech, aggressively demanding her name and phone number while also asking about her possible presence in Donbass. This was not the end of the outrageous behaviour to which the Mechanism responded: on the first day after this act of harassment, the Russian government representative demanded the data of the speakers from the secretariat.
On the third day of the Mechanism, there was a panel discussion on "The Impact of Development Projects on Indigenous Women", where indigenous girls spoke about intimidation and threats, killings, criminalisation, development of peoples' territories, mining. At the same time, the speech from the Russian side referred to the "excellent attitude of the state towards indigenous peoples". Jana's remark "about the lack of any influence of extractive companies in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the aggressiveness of the way resources are obtained and the impact of women's health" was answered that "our voice is heard, we have the opportunity to express our opinion, the role of women is important", ending with gratitude to men and the government because "there can be no women without men."
The pressure on the activists from ICIPR continued: the Russian government representatives asked not to politicise the issue, saying that indigenous people who do not now live in Russia are only representing their personal opinions. At the same time, the Russian representative spoke about the "made historical choice" of indigenous peoples in Ukraine (such as the Crimean Tatars).
At the same time, Crimean Tatar speakers speak directly about discrimination and repressive policies against indigenous peoples in the territory occupied by the Russian Federation since 2014 and the occupied territories after the new round of conflict in 2022 (the southern part of Ukraine - Kherson and Zaporozhye regions). Kidnappings, searches, imprisonments, torture, portraying activists as extremists - all this is happening in the occupied territories, all silenced and leading to the violation of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples.
As activists of Feminist Anti-War Resistance we condemn the behaviour of the official delegation and government representatives and have no doubt that this position is strictly coordinated with the government. This shows once again the willingness of those in power to silence indigenous issues by intimidating activists and leaving other members of the community in the dark.