First Deputy Minister for Information Policy Emine Jeppar is positive that ‘the status of Crimean Tatars, an indigenous people of Crimea, is a guarantee of Crimea’s return to Ukraine.

“According to international law, and more specifically, the UN Declaration on Indigenous Issues, the Crimean Tatars have a right to self-determination, something the occupying country, i.e. Russia, denies them, choosing instead a policy of destruction at all levels – ranging from the language to physical violence. At all international platforms, this forum being no exception, Russia has been trying to create a myth of equal treatment and protection of the rights of Crimean Tatars. Even allegedly independent experts from the Russian Federation are working hard to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea. It is all reminiscent of the Russian media, regardless of whether they are privately-owned or state-run, which are either subordinate to or controlled by the regime,” said Jeppar.

The First Deputy Minister also noted that if the peninsula’s indigenous people, i.e. Crimean Tatars, are ensured their right to self-determination after de-occupation of Crimea, it will guarantee Ukraine’s protection in Crimea. The 15th session of the Forum is scheduled to run until May 20. Each year, representatives of indigenous peoples of the world gather at the Forum to discuss problems their peoples are facing and look for solutions.

The Crimean Tatars are represented at the Forum by Eskender Bariev, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Ayla Bakkaly, USA Mejlis representative, Aslan Omer Kyrymly and Emine Jeppar, Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister for Information Policy.

Being a supreme deliberative body of the United Nations, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PF) is one of the three UN bodies dealing with matters related to indigenous peoples. The Forum also handles matters of economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights of indigenous peoples as far as protection of indigenous peoples is concerned. Established by ECOSOC in 2000, the Forum convenes for an annual session that usually takes place in May. The Forum is comprised of 16 members from different regions of the world.

It was reported earlier that the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, now underway at UN Headquarters (New York), will run from May 9 to May 11. At a yesterday’s meeting, Eskender Bariev, the Committee’s Chief coordinator for Protection of the Rights of the Crimean Tatar people, presented his report called ‘Sustainable Development and Housing’.

In his speech, he focused on the development of self-organizing bodies of indigenous peoples, their adequate representation at government bodies, specifics of using indigenous peoples’ natural resources by governments, education opportunities for indigenous peoples, health care and preferential status for the development of indigenous peoples’ businesses.