Modern Arctic: social aspect / News / News agency Inforos
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Modern Arctic: social aspect

Next meeting of the Arctic Council can be devoted to protection protecting the indigenous inhabitants of the region

Modern Arctic: social aspect

Finland expects to hold the next summit of the Arctic Council and starts to prepare to this international event, the representative of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Finland Harri Mäki-Reinikka.  It should be reminded that the chairmanship of the international organization, which also includes Russia, USA, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, has passed to Finland last year. At that time, Finland took the initiative to organize an Arctic Council summit on its territory.

The summit for Finland is an unprecedented event. The last meeting of Heads of state was held in 1996, and later all the important events were conducted  at the foreign Ministers’ level.

The meeting is scheduled for May 2019. In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed his readiness to visit  this event in the framework of negotiations with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö. The meeting took place in Sochi in May 2018. “There should be no problems with other Arctic States, in particular-with Canada and the United States”, - the representative of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Finland Harri Mäki-Reinikka added.

The leaders of the circumpolar States, foreign Ministers, politicians, public figures and environmentalists  and representatives of the Northern indigenous peoples living in the region will participate in this global event. One of the key topics of the meeting is expected to be the discussion of social problems of the modern Arctic. It is possible that the outcome of the summit will be an effective strategy to protect the indigenous population living in the coldest region of the planet.

The question is really urgent-given the fact that the attitude of a number of polar States to indigenous peoples living on their territory, to put it mildly, leaves much to be desired.

So, for the inhabitants of Denmark, the Greenlanders have long been «second-class human beings». A truly egregious case took place in Copenhagen in 2013. A dying Greenlander was found at the metro station. The witness who found him immediately called the police. The law enforcement officer asked about his nationality – is he Danish or Greenlander. So the ambulance arrived forty (!) minutes after the call. By then this man died - because he was a Greenlander, not a Danish!

That's, however, is not an isolated incident of such neglect to Greenlanders. Unfortunately Copenhagen still doesn’t want to establish a relationships with its immediate Northern neighbor. It seems that the «final point» in this question will be put by the Greenlanders themselves. Elections to the local Parliament were held on the island in April, and six of the seven parties voted to withdraw Greenland from the Danish Kingdom. If Nuuk becomes independent, Copenhagen risks seriously undermining its political prestige, but the country's leadership still prefers to ignore these «disturbing calls» and continues to aggravate relations with the islanders.

Meanwhile Canada, unlike Denmark, last year recognized that it was unfair to the indigenous peoples living on its territory. This, in particular, is evidenced by the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples signed by Ottawa in 2017. We are ready to implement it and work more closely with our indigenous people to provide them with a better life, the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said.

Russia, unlike its Western Arctic "colleagues", has been working in this direction for a long time. Moreover, the protection of Arctic indigenous peoples of the North remains a key aspect of its north policy.

The Convention on indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countrieswas adopted on 26th of June 1989/ It is the main legal instrument defining the special international legal status of indigenous peoples. The main points of the document are reflected in the Constitution of the Russian Federation. There are prescribed and norms of international law in the sphere of providing and protection of the population living on the territory of the Russian Arctic. A key role in ensuring social guarantees is assigned to the Ministry of regional development of the Russian Federation, which actively cooperates with other Executive bodies and public associations, whose work deserves special attention.

Special attention should be paid to the activities of the Association of small peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. The structure is designed to address indigenous issues at the regional, state and international levels. Priority tasks in this area remain the preservation of national culture and traditions, the development of traditional life support of peoples (reindeer husbandry and other crafts), the improvement of literacy rates and the availability of health care.

«If at first the protection of the interests of indigenous peoples was a matter of small enthusiasts from among the representatives of the national intelligentsia, now experienced politicians who have positions not only in the regions, but also at the Federal level are engaged in this matter», – notes doctor of political Sciences, Vice-President of the Facility of Social Sciences Rostislav F. Turovsky.

Today the Association closely cooperates with the chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Government, the presidential administration, takes an active part in the work on legislative documents designed to ensure the rights of the ICSU. In addition, in August 2018 the Association created a charity Fund. One of it’s tasks is to support the northerners.

Moscow, of course, faces a difficult task: to lift the quality of life beyond the Arctic circle to the average Russian level. The main goal is to improve the self-government bodies of the indigenous peoples of the North, their participation in state and municipal management. There is no doubt that work in this direction should take place at all levels of government.

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