Ukraine is ready to protect the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with international agreements and to continue cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe on this issue, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said in a statement.
The ministry recalled that this year Ukraine has taken an important step in the field of protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. On July 1, the Verkhovna Rada passed the law "On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine," initiated by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"This decision shows the commitment of our state to its international legal obligations in this area, not only through statements but also through deeds. Ukraine has proved that it implements a comprehensive state policy of ethno-national unity, harmonization of interethnic relations and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples," the ministry said.
The statement says that the law was developed in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of Ukraine and corresponds to the spirit and the letter of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The document contributes to the consolidation and development of Ukrainian society, as well as the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine. The state guarantees the protection of the identity of indigenous peoples, helps them to develop their own language, culture and traditions.
"The excessive and manipulative reaction of the Russian Federation to this Ukrainian law is indicative and proves that Ukraine's readiness to protect the rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people destroys the narratives of Russian propaganda about the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea allegedly being part of the Russian Federation," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The commentary also states that Ukraine is ready to protect its indigenous peoples, including by working to consolidate international pressure on the aggressor state in order to combat mass human rights violations in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
In addition, their protection will be one of the priority topics of the new international format of the Crimea Platform, which Ukraine is creating on the initiative of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The ministry said that Ukraine is actively working in this direction and calls on the international community to take decisive steps to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and preserve their identity.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry concluded that Ukraine would continue to develop cooperation with the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe on the protection of indigenous peoples and remained committed to its international legal obligations in this area, including under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The President's Office said earlier that the Crimea Platform would unite national and international efforts to protect indigenous peoples, as the issue of their protection is particularly acute for Ukraine due to Russia's occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
August 9 marks the International Day of the World's Indigenous People. It was on this day in 1982 that the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations took place.