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Verkhovna Rada Passes Law on Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine

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The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed, as a basis and on the whole, the bill “On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine.” The bill was supported by 325 lawmakers at an extraordinary plenary sitting of the Verkhovna Rada.

Indigenous people are a community that, in particular, does not have its own state formation outside Ukraine. Therefore, the law recognises Crimean Tatars, Crimean Karaites, and Krymchaks as indigenous peoples of Ukraine. “Indigenous people of Ukraine are an autochthonous ethnic community formed in the territory of Ukraine which has a native language and culture; traditional, social, cultural or representative bodies; is self-aware as the indigenous people of Ukraine; is an ethnic minority in its population; and does not have its own state formation outside Ukraine,” the document reads.

The law guarantees legal protection against any actions aimed at depriving people of their ethnicity and integrity, depriving them of cultural values, evicting or forcibly removing them from places of compact residence in any form. It also guarantees protection against forced assimilation or forced integration in any form and incitement of racial, ethnic or religious hatred.

In addition, the law guarantees the cultural, educational, linguistic and information rights of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, as well as their right to sustainable development.

As a reminder, the human rights organisations state that the situation with the enforcement of civil and political rights in Crimea remained steadily critical in 2014–2020. The civic space on the peninsula has been catastrophically limited due to the actions of the occupying power and is under the constant control of Russian special services or local occupation authorities.

Natalia Tolub

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