NEW YORK (QHA) - 12th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was opened at the UN building in New York on May 20. As reported, the number of indigenous peoples in the world is approximately 370 mln and they are living in more than 70 countries.
This session was devoted especially to issues of culture, education and health of indigenous peoples.
“We must appreciate, preserve and protect the rich heritage and the system of values of the indigenous peoples starting from the education. We also should do more to increase an accessibility of the health services for the indigenous peoples while respecting their traditions”, the message of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reads.
About thousand delegates who representing hundreds groups of aboriginal peoples as well as governmental delegations came to participate in work of the permanent forum. The Majlis of Crimean Tatar nation is represented by the Deputy Chief of the External Affairs of the Majlis Mr Abdurahman Egiz and the Member of the Coordination Council of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars Ms Ayla Baqqalı.
QHA has the full text of the speech of the Crimean Tatar representative in the event:
“Distinguished Chair,
 Distinguished Delegates of the Indigeneous Peoples,
It is my great honor to welcome you on behalf of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People - the representative body of the Crimean Tatars.
Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People has initiated an International Forum that focuses on the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and their security in their homeland; their socio-economic development in Ukraine, and the formulation and adoption of legal measures aimed at restoring the rights of the Crimean Tatar people.
The total population of the Crimean Tatar people was deported from their homeland in 1944. Until 1989, they were forcibly kept in exile in Central Asia by the Soviet Communist regime, during which time they were deprived of any opportunities to learn their native language, history, religion, and culture, and were subjected to a brutal assimilation processes.
At the present time, the situation of the Crimean Tatar people continues to deteriorate. Although Ukraine gained its independence 22 years ago, it did not formulate or pass any legislation aimed at eliminating the consequences of the criminal deportations of 1944.
Today, the discrimination against the Crimean Tatar people is continuing in new forms, such as:
- The restriction of political representation of the Crimean Tatars in the executive power of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
- A sharp reduction of state funding for the improvement programs of formerly deported peoples;
- The denial of the Crimean Tatar language as the official language;
- The catastrophic situation of the preschool and school education in the Crimean Tatar language.
Under the circumstances, the resolution of Crimean Tatar problems should include:
- Constructive and effective cooperation between the authorities of Ukraine, Crimea and the only qualified and authorized elective body - the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People;
- Involvement of international organizations in assistance to the Ukrainian government and to the Crimean Tatar people in the resolution of the genocidal consequences of the Crimean Tatar deportation on May 18, 1944.
The International Forum, which was the initiative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, was supported by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, as well as by the governments of member states of the European Union, the USA and Canada.
Regardless of the requests by the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, the organizers of the International Forum, Ukrainian government has not yet demonstrated its willingness to host this Forum, which aims to focus on addressing the consequences of the criminal deportation of the Crimean Tatar people.
We ask the international community to support the initiatives of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), and demonstrate to the government of Ukraine their willingness to assist in such a Forum that will work on the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and their security in their ancestral homeland.
Thank you for your attention.
Abduraman Egiz,
The Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people”
Note: The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII or PFII) is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. "Indigenous person" means native, original, first people and aboriginal. There are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries worldwide. The forum is an advisory body within the framework of the United Nations System that reports to the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The first indigenous to be elected to office at a United Nations meeting was Chief Ted Moses of the Grand Council of the Crees in Canada, in 1989.
The creation of the Permanent Forum was discussed at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action [1] recommended that such a forum should be established within the first United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (see below). A working group was formed and various other meetings took place that led to the establishment of the permanent forum by the UN Economic and Social Council resolution 2000/22 on 28 July 2000.