Stop the Silencing of Indigenous Voices in Russia
One of our Russian allies urgently needs your help!
Russian authorities shut down RAIPON, the main organization representing the indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East, Siberia, and the Arctic—because of a paperwork error.
RAIPON has long been a strong voice against Russia’s policies toward the country’s indigenous peoples. This attack on RAIPON is only the latest in a series of governmental measures designed to gain greater control over the vast, fossil fuel-rich territories of the Far North. These areas are mainly populated by indigenous peoples and federal and regional actions are increasingly targeting traditional forms of economic activity like subsistence hunting and fishing to weaken local cultures and traditions and undermine indigenous opposition to the government’s Arctic development plans.
Help us stop the attempts to silence Russia’s indigenous peoples who are fighting to maintain their traditional ways of life and to protect their communities from resource extraction projects, oil spills, and industrial pollution. Write to Russia’s President Putin today and demand that he ask Russian authorities to reinstate RAIPON and allow it to continue its important work both in Russia and internationally.
President of the Russian Federation
CC: Dmitry A. Medvedev, Prime Minister
Aleksandr V. Konovalov, Minister of Justice
Dear President Putin,
I am writing to you today to request that you encourage Russia’s Ministry of Justice to rescind its decision to force the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) to cease its activity for six months. The decision to suspend RAIPON for six months is not only an unjust punishment for RAIPON’s supposed infraction; it will also severely hinder Russians’ ability to exercise their constitutional rights within Russia and abroad.
The forced shut down of RAIPON for minor bureaucratic reasons is a gross misuse of Russian law, and should be immediately reversed in a way that allows RAIPON to adjust its organizational structure without hindering its activity. The Ministry of Justice has justified its suspension of RAIPON by claiming RAIPON’s regional affiliates’ absence from the RAIPON charter constitutes a violation of Russian law. RAIPON has been in existence for more than 20 years, and Russia’s constitution was ratified in 1994. The RAIPON charter has been in place since 1990, with a consistent method for listing affiliates, and in that time the Ministry of Justice has conducted two thorough federal reviews – neither time finding that RAIPON violates the constitution. The sudden forced suspension of RAIPON’s activities is absurdly disproportionate given the organization’s long history of compliance, especially since RAIPON’s leadership tried in good faith to eliminate the technical violation in its charter after receiving notification in 2010. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Justice refused to accept the revised charter submitted in 2011 or work with RAIPON to resolve it. The organization’s inability to resolve the problem despite great effort represents poor performance on the Ministry’s part. We therefore urge you to appeal to the Ministry of Justice to resolve this bureaucratic matter without hindering RAIPON’s important work.
Shuttering RAIPON will severely limit the ability of Russian indigenous peoples to assert their constitutional rights within Russia and internationally. In addition to providing legal and moral assistance to Russia’s thousands of indigenous peoples, RAIPON advises local and federal agencies on best policies for working with indigenous communities, and is an active participant in the All-Russian People’s Front. Closing the organization will remove an important force working for inter-ethnic cooperation throughout Russia.
RAIPON also represents indigenous Russians in several international and multinational governance bodies. By disbanding RAIPON, the Ministry of Justice has significantly decreased Russia’s influence in fora such as the Arctic Council, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the UN Environment Program. It is in the interests of the Russian government to ensure that Russia’s citizens are fully represented in these organizations, and for this reason the Ministry of Justice should seek to solve any of RAIPON’s infractions without disrupting the organization’s representation internationally.
As the President of the Russian Federation, it is your duty to protect your citizens. Closing RAIPON will affect thousands of indigenous Russians who rely on RAIPON for legal advice, legislative assistance, and international representation. For this reason, I urge you to take immediate measures to encourage the Ministry of Justice to reinstate RAIPON and help it bring its activities into accord with Russian Constitution.
|1511||Tue Mar 26 13:56:55 EDT 2013||Martha W D Bushnell||Boulder, CO , US|
|1510||Fri Mar 15 11:53:44 EDT 2013||Rain Hastings||Colorado Springs, CO , US|
|1509||Fri Mar 15 10:30:32 EDT 2013||Frank White||Westport, CT , US|
|1508||Fri Mar 15 09:59:04 EDT 2013||Joyce Frohn||Oshkosh, WI , US|
|1507||Fri Mar 15 09:39:06 EDT 2013||Rayleen Nunez||BOSTON, MA , US|
|1506||Thu Mar 07 18:48:57 EST 2013||Danielle DeLuca||Westwood, MA , US|
|1505||Tue Mar 05 05:10:44 EST 2013||Paolo Bettiato||Ferrara, ot , IT|
|1504||Mon Mar 04 13:46:54 EST 2013||Elizabeth S||Ontario, ON , CA|
|1503||Mon Mar 04 02:16:15 EST 2013||jeff hopkins||Lindenhurst, IL , US|
|1502||Mon Mar 04 02:15:21 EST 2013||jeff hopkins||Lindenhurst, IL , US|
|1501||Sun Mar 03 20:49:41 EST 2013||Matthew Cloner||Tukwila, WA , US|
|1500||Sat Mar 02 13:40:47 EST 2013||Terrie Williams||Vidor, TX , US|
|1499||Sat Mar 02 12:00:12 EST 2013||Marianne G. Freidberg||New Fairfield, CT , US|
|1498||Sat Mar 02 11:58:49 EST 2013||Marianne G. Freidberg||New Fairfield, CT , US|
|1497||Fri Mar 01 23:07:03 EST 2013||Angeles Madrazo||ot , MX|
|1496||Fri Mar 01 20:40:42 EST 2013||James Mulcare||Clarkston, WA , US|
|1495||Fri Mar 01 16:20:35 EST 2013||J. Gregory Twain||Portland, OR , US|
|1494||Fri Mar 01 13:52:00 EST 2013||Elizabeth Mitchell||Morinville, AB , CA|
|1493||Fri Mar 01 05:17:08 EST 2013||Elsa Margarida Ferreira||Luxembourg, ot , LU|
|1492||Fri Mar 01 00:19:11 EST 2013||Anonymous||Belmont, MA , US|
|1491||Thu Feb 28 23:59:45 EST 2013||Olivia Schlosser||Mansfield Center, CT , US|
|1490||Thu Feb 28 23:49:44 EST 2013||Martha W D Bushnell||Boulder, CO , US|
|1489||Thu Feb 28 23:14:19 EST 2013||RICK EASTON||CORNVILLE, AZ , US|
|1488||Thu Feb 28 22:41:52 EST 2013||Steve Loxley||Vancouver, BC , CA|
|1487||Thu Feb 28 22:37:13 EST 2013||Kevin Anderson||Omak, WA , US|