Law on indigenous peoples comes into force in Ukraine

Law on indigenous peoples comes into force in Ukraine

Newly-adopted legislation on indigenous peoples of Ukraine took effect in Ukraine on Friday, July 23.

That’s according to Parliament’s Holos Ukrainy official gazette, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

The law designates the legal status of indigenous peoples of Ukraine and establishes legal guarantees for them to fully exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms of the indigenous peoples, established by international law and envisaged by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

According to the law, the concept of "indigenous people of Ukraine" is defined as an "autochthonous ethnic community that has formed on the territory of Ukraine, being a carrier of a unique language and culture, having traditional, social, cultural or representative bodies, seeing itself as an indigenous people of Ukraine, being an ethnic minority as part of the country’s population, and having no own state formation beyond Ukraine." According to the definition, the law proposes to establish that the indigenous peoples of Ukraine include Crimean Tatars, Karaites, and Krymchaks.

In accordance with the provisions laid down in legislation, the indigenous peoples of Ukraine and their representatives are entitled, collectively and individually, to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms as defined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international agreements, whose binding nature has been approved by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament, as well as provided for in the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

The law defines guarantees for legal protection from any actions aimed at depriving indigenous peoples of ethnicity and integrity features as unique peoples, as well as their cultural values; eviction or forced relocation from their compact residence areas in any form; forced assimilation or forced integration in any form; and encouraging or inciting racial, ethnic or religious enmity against the indigenous peoples of Ukraine. The document guarantees cultural, educational, linguistic and information rights of the indigenous peoples, and the rights to sustainable development.

Read also: Zelensky announces law on national communities

The law provides for the determination of the legal status of the representative bodies of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, their funding, and international representation.

The law enters into force on the day of its publication, while Part 3 Article 7, which defines the right of indigenous peoples to part of the income from the use of natural resources, shall come into force after Ukraine regains control of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada passed the bill on indigenous peoples of Ukraine on July 1, 2021.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the bill into law on July 21.


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