Participatory Rights of Russian Indigenous Peoples Regarding Land Issues
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Altogether 40 types of indigenous peoples presently inhabit their ancestral lands in the Russian North, Siberia and the Far East. The indigenous peoples have traditionally occupied these territories, which provide the entire country with oil and gas. Among the outcomes of intensive nature use, we are witnessing a large-scale alienation of indigenous homelands and granting licences to private corporations for exploitation of natural resources. On top of this, Russian legislation does not provide the indigenous peoples with the right of land ownership. Neither does it guarantee for them any preferential access to land. Moreover, the international standards regarding human rights of indigenous peoples are not acknowledged in Russia.The planned amendments of national legislation regarding the rights of indigenous peoples to preferential access to land would solve the mentioned problems. Nonetheless, the author suggests that amending of legal acts in this case means a shift in the official stance of Russia as regards indigenous rights to land. At least previously, public authorities were reluctant to legalise indigenous title to land. This article studies, from the perspective of international human rights law, how indigenous peoples can influence decision-making processes affecting their right to land, while awaiting the forthcoming legal amendments. In light of previous experiences of the engagement of indigenous peoples in the implementation of state policies, the author believes that such engagement contributes effectively to the protection of indigenous rights.
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