The Second Indigenous Circumpolar Youth Conference
November 4, 1998
Resolution on Lovozero district.
We, the participants of The Second Indigenous Circumpolar Youth Conference (2ICYC), representing Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Canada, Denmark and The United States of America, appeal to the authorities of the Lovozero district, the local government of Murmansk region, the Parliament of the Murmansk region, the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, the Karasjok municipality, Fylkesting of Finnmark region (Norway), Saami Association, Saami Parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, the Arctic Council, the Barents Council, the Council of the Ministers of the Nordic Countries, the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat in Denmark, European Council, United Nations Commission On Human Rights, expressing our protest against unlawful actions by the authorities of the Murmansk region and the Swedish-Russian Open Joint Stock Company, "Voronye-Minerals".On July 17, 1998 the indigenous Saami population of the Lovozero district, in the Murmansk region of Russia, learned from the press about the outcome of the open tender. This tender, concerning the right to conduct geological prospecting in the North-western portion of the Kolmozero-Voroninskaya formation with the intent of excavating gold, copper and molybdenum. The tender commission met on June 28, 1998. In the meeting, the local government of the Murmansk region, the Natural Resources Committee of the Murmansk region announced the Open Joint Stock Company "Voronye-Minerals" as the winner of the tender. The land plot in question is 420 sq. km. and 500 m. deep from the surface. The license is valid until June 30, 2023.By adopting these decisions and signing the relevant documents, the local government of the Murmansk region has completely ignored the opinion of the indigenous people and the public of Lovozero district. After the announcement of the tender in March 1998, the Lujavri local organization of Kola Peninsula Saami Association, the Association of Komi-Izhemtz "Izīvatas", Council of War and Labour Veterans, and local population began an active campaign against mining and prospecting in the North-western portion of the Kolmozero-Voroninskaya formation. The land in question is a permanent pasture of three main reindeer herds. Appeals and protests have been sent to local and regional authorities, however, these appeals and protests have not been answered. The "Voronye- Minerals" Company intends to conduct prospecting and mining for 25 years. These activities will result in the disappearance of reindeer herding. Reindeer herding is the traditional economic activity of the Saami people. Reindeer herding has also been the traditional lifestyle for the Saami people for hundreds of years; it is the basic layer of their everyday life and culture. According to the latest count today, there are only 1,730 ethnic Saamis in all of Russia. The disappearance of reindeer herding will result in extinction of the Saami nation.Many changes have taken place in Russia during the last century. By the end of 1980s, because of state political influence, language and traditions of the Saami people have become nearly extinct. The preservation of Reindeer herding and fisheries are of vital importance for the survival of the Saami peoples.We, the participants of the 2ICYC support the Kola Peninsula Saami people and consider their struggle for vital rights as lawful.We see direct violations of both Russian and international legislative and regulative documents, such as:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art.22, art. 8; ILO Convention No.169, art. 2, paragraph 1: "Governments shall have the responsibility for developing, with the participation of the peoples concerned, co-ordinated and systematic action to protect the rights of these peoples and to guarantee respect for their integrity." Reference is also made in Article 2, paragraphs 1and 2, Items (a) and (b), as well as in Article 7, paragraph 1: "The peoples concerned shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development."Article 13, paragraph 1: "In applying the provisions of this Paragraph of the Convention governments shall respect the special importance for the cultures and spiritual values of the peoples concerned of their relationship with the lands or territories, or both as applicable, which they occupy or otherwise use, and in particular the collective aspects of this relationship", and also of Article 8, Paragraph 1, Article 3, Paragraphs 1 and 2, Article 13, Paragraphs 1 and 2, Article 14, Paragraphs 1 and 2, and Article 15, Paragraph 1.The Constitution of The Russian Federation:Article 9: "All land and other natural resources in Russia are to be used and preserved as a basic condition for the life and activity of the peoples inhabiting the territory concerned."Article 69: "The Russian Federation guarantees the rights of its indigenous and small peoples in accordance with the universally accepted principles and norms of international law and the international agreements signed by The Russian Federation."The Charter of the Murmansk Region:Article 21:Paragraph1: "The rights of ethnic minorities inhabiting the territory of Murmansk Region is regulated and protected in accordance with the Constitution of The Russian Federation and Russian federal law."Paragraph 2: "The local government of the Murmansk Region are to assist the indigenous people of the Cola peninsula - Saami - in implementing their right to preserve and develop their native language, ethnic culture, traditions and customs."Paragraph 3: "In regions historically inhabited by the Saami people, the Saami enjoy the right to pursue their traditional use of nature and their traditional activities."We, the participants of the Second Indigenous Circumpolar Youth Conference, demand:- Immediate stop of all activities of the Swedish-Russian Open Joint Stock Company "Voronye-Minerals" in the reindeer pastures which consist of 420 km. In the North-western portion of the Kolmozero-Voroninskaya formation;- Implementation by the Russian government and regional authorities of international laws and laws of The Russian Federation.We appeal to the above organizations for support of the Kola Saami people, to help them in their struggle to defend their land and right to a future. This is imperative, as it will prevent the Saami culture, traditions, and nation from disappearing from the Earth.
Signed byGunnar Petrussen
Claus Oreskovorganizing committee 2ICYC
Elena M. Kiseleva-BuggeskovRussian/English Translations