Our Association submitted the application to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for its next thematic study on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, between indigenous peoples and States, including peace accords and reconciliation initiatives, and their constitutional recognition.

Association’ submission was devoted to the situation of indigenous peoples, including Crimean Tatars, Crimean Karaites and Krymchaks in the Crimea. The response deals with the issues identified by the Association in its work, namely the issue of intentional and organised Russian policy against indigenous rights in the Crimea, the issue of Ukraine’s policy related to those indigenous peoples, including the right to identity and right to development. Submission reflected the historic survey on framework of indigenous peoples’ cooperation with governing authorities on the peninsula, it points that Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People co-operated with Ukrainian central and regional authorities till 2014 as the Council of Representatives of Crimean Tatar People, in framework of the Presidential Decree on 18 May, 1999 № 518/99.

Submission points that Russian de-facto “authorities” do not recognize since 2014 the indigenous statute for the Crimean Tatars, Crimean Karaites and Krymchaks; the Russian invaders did not make any “agreements” with them. Representative body of Crimean Tatar People, Mejlis is de-facto banned by Russia-controlled “authorities” since 2016. Russia did not execute the order of International Court of Justice of 19 April 2017 in case 166 (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) where the Court, indicated, as the provisional measures with regard to the situation in Crimea, that Russia must, in accordance with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis. Submission stressed to the UN officers that in 2017-2022 Russia refused to make any negotiations or agreements with Mejlis’ representatives regarding execution this ICJ’s Order and cancel the de-facto ban of Mejlis.

Submission states that Ukraine recognized the Crimean Tatar People as indigenous one and the regime of its Mejlis and Qurultay, also as the powers of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the statement of Ukraine’s Parliament on 20th of March 2014. In this act Ukrainian Parliament instructed the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to urgently submit draft laws of Ukraine, normative legal acts of Ukraine, which determine and consolidate the status of the Crimean Tatar People as the indigenous people of Ukraine, and to develop practical mechanisms for cooperation between the executive authorities of Ukraine and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. Statement declared that drafting of relevant laws of Ukraine and regulations will be developed in consultation with the Mejlis, in close cooperation with the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe in accordance with international law and standards of human, indigenous peoples’, national minorities’ rights.

Submission informs the UN Expert Mechanism that in 2021 Ukraine adopted the Law on Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine on 1 July, № 1616-IX. This law did not establish the procedure of agreements with indigenous peoples, but it adopted some procedures of consultations with indigenous peoples’ representative bodies.

Such consultation must be held by Ukraine’s government on issues of indigenous peoples’ sacral and cultural objects’ lists and exploitation (law’s part 2 of art. 4); on renaming the settlements (law’s part 3 of art. 4); on Crimea’s reserve of lands and granting land plots to indigenous peoples’ representatives (law’s part 4 of art. 7); on order of cooperation the indigenous peoples with local government offices on land, water forest and other environment issues in Crimea (part 2 of art. 7); by Ukraine’s ministries on issues of teaching the indigenous history and language (law’s part 2 of art. 5) and other issues (law’s pert 3 of art.  Regarding the article 7 of this law the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, through their representative bodies, have the right to set priorities and develop strategies for the realization of their right to development. This right includes participation in the development and implementation of state and regional programs, as well as other strategic and policy documents on the basis of free, prior and informed consent.

Submission informs UN officials that now our Association experts, together with Mejlis and Crimean Tatar Resource Center’s representatives, are included by the Ukraine’s State Service for Ethno-Politics and Freedom of Conscience in the special working group for development the drafts of Ukraine’s sublegal acts, which will establish the order of above-pointed consultations with government and ministries. Such sublegal acts are not adopted till now and we will inform the UN Expert Mechanism on the development of this situation.

The specific problem is that another Ukraine’s sublegal act should be adopted, regarding order of registration the indigenous peoples’ representative bodies by Ukraine’s government. The article 8 of the Ukrainian law, 2021 № 1616-IX points that indigenous representative bodies acquire and lose the rights and obligations provided by this and other laws of Ukraine, after the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine decides to consolidate their legal status or deprive it. The draft of such a decision is submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by the central executive body, which ensures the formation and implementation of state policy in the field of interethnic relations, religion and protection of the rights of national minorities of Ukraine (which is Ministry of Culture of Ukraine). Our Association pointed in its submission that Ukraine need expert support from UN Expert Mechanism for further development the pointed sublegal acts and realization the demands of Ukrainian law, 2021 № 1616-IX on indigenous peoples of Ukraine.

UN Expert Mechanism’s representatives thanked officially the Association for this submission already. Also our Association got now the official thanks from the UN Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development for the ARC’s submission “Duty to Cooperate and Non-State Actors: Indigenous Peoples and Crimea” sent to that Mechanism in December, 2021 and devoted the urgent issues of racial discrimination of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea.