Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic November 19, 2012 - 10:47 am

Greenlandic politicians slam Russia’s move to silence indigenous org

“An unacceptable violation of the Russian Arctic indigenous peoples' human rights"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
This is the logo of RAIPON, the Russian Arctic indigenous organization whose operations have been suspended by officials at Russia's ministry of Justice.
This is the logo of RAIPON, the Russian Arctic indigenous organization whose operations have been suspended by officials at Russia's ministry of Justice.

Greenland’s politicians have criticized the recent move of the Russian ministry of Justice to suspend the operations of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East as a violation of the Russian Arctic indigenous peoples’ human rights.

And they’re calling for Greenland and Denmark to put pressure on Russia to reinstate RAIPON so it can rejoin the Arctic Council, where it sits as a permanent indigenous participant.

“The Russian organization is one of our closest partners as permanent participants in our work in the Arctic Council,” Aleqa Hammond, who heads the Siumut party, told Greenland’s Sermitsiaq AG newspaper.

Ministers from Canada and Norway, along with Arctic Parliamentarians, have also said they want RAIPON back at the Arctic Council.

Hammond said Greenland should ensure that all countries and organizations which it works with take democratic actions.

“RAIPON is one of our closest partners in the Arctic Council, and Siumut argues that the Russian government’s suspension of RAIPON’s activities will weaken minority voting nationally and internationally,” said Hammond, who called the suspension “a violation of democracy and the principles we as indigenous peoples have in common.”

MP Sara Olsvig, one of two MPs from Greenland who sit in the Danish parliament, has appealed to the Danish government to put “maximum pressure on Russia” to ensure the reopening of RAIPON.

MP Doris Jakobsen criticized RAIPON’s suspension as “an unacceptable violation of the Russian Arctic indigenous peoples’ human rights.”

“Unfortunately, such violations have gradually become commonplace in today’s Russia,” she said. “We need to take a clear distance from the methods used by the Russian government uses, and we must show that we openly support RAIPON’s struggle for fair treatment,” Jakobsen said.

The Russian officials forced the closure of RAIPON after the organization criticized offshore Arctic oil drilling, Sermitsiaq AG noted.

This image from RAIPON's website shows some of the indigenous Arctic peoples that it represents.
This image from RAIPON's website shows some of the indigenous Arctic peoples that it represents.
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