In the run-up of the review of the Russian Federation’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Committee formulated a list of questions to the Russian authorities, based on alternative reports of civil society, including the report of ADC Memorial and the Myski city organization “Revival of Kazas and the Shor people”.
The Committee paid particular attention to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and requested information on measures taken “to respect and protect the rights of indigenous peoples, including their right to recognition as indigenous, and to ensure their free, prior and informed consent in any decisions affecting them, especially with regard to the operations of extractive industries”; on the measures taken in law and practice to prevent the pollution of the air and soil, the degradation of drinking water and the destruction of sacred sites and burial sites, such as the sacred mountain Karagay-Lyash, as a result of industrial operations. The Committee asks the Russian authorities to respond to the allegations of the harassment of indigenous human rights defenders, including Vladislav Tannagashev and Yana Tannagasheva, and the forced liquidation of indigenous organizations, such as the Centre for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North.
The attention of international bodies to the problems of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation is very important, since residents of traditional territories can’t protect their rights at the local level. In southern Siberia, for example, Khakas and Shor indigenous peoples suffer from the activities of coal companies and face land grabs, destruction of natural and cultural sites, irreversible environmental pollution, while participants of peaceful protests are subjected to reprisals.
Locals protesting against the arbitrary actions of coal companies are being repressed. Thus, on August 24, 2020, in the Kemerovo region, a journalist and environmental activist Vyacheslav Krechetov was detained by police and convicted for organizing an unauthorized meeting. Administrative protocols were also drawn up on other defenders of the village of Cheremza, including Alexey Chispiyakov, a representative of the Shor people.