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Reflections on the Influence of the Current Political Development in Russia on Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights

Sulyandziga, Rodion; Berezhkov, Dmitry

The framework of cultural, territorial and political rights of Indigenous Peoples and their communities in Russia consists of the articles of the Constitution together with three federal framework laws: “On the Guarantees of the Rights of the Indigenous Small-Numbered Peoples of the Russian Federation” (1999); “On General Principles of the Organization of Communities [Obshinas] of the Indigenous Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation” (2000); “On Territories of Traditional Nature Use of the Indigenous Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation” (2001). There are also some relevant provisions in articles of other federal and regional laws. Observers have noted that this web of legislation suffers from a lack of consistency and stability, greatly inhibiting effective protection of Indigenous rights. First of all, there are substantive deficiencies in legislation, including its incompleteness and lack of robustness with regard to the protection of Indigenous rights set out in the UNDRIP, and also its partial incompatibility with these rights. Secondly, there is a poorly working legislative process often resulting in poorly crafted and contradictory regulations. Thirdly, there is an implementation gap. Many positive-sounding regulations remain on paper only, allowing Russia to cite them before international human rights bodies without actually giving effect to them on the ground. Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional territories and livelihoods are still not effectively protected. Crucially, legislation does not acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ inherent right to their ancestral territories. Indigenous Peoples are not regarded as the owners of their ancestral lands. Based on their traditional occupancy, they are merely granted usufruct rights to hunt, fish, to herd their reindeer on the land, etc.

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More Information

Published In
Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Unreported Struggles: Conflict and Peace
Pages
80 - 95
Publisher
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Publication Origin
New York
Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Notes

This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Unreported Struggles: Conflict and Peace". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at https://doi.org/10.7916/D82R5095.

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