Ukrainian Parliament discusses situation of native peoples of Russia

Ukrainian Parliament discusses situation of native peoples of Russia

A round table dedicated to violation of rights of native peoples in the Russian Federation has been held at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian parliament).

The event gathered members of the Ukrainian parliament, diplomats, scientists, human rights advocates and political emigrants from Russia. Activists of Free Idel-Ural civic movement presented special lectures about the political situation in the republics of Idel-Ural (rus. Povolzhye).

Round table participants noted systematic violations of civic, national, religious and political rights of representatives of native peoples in Russia, pursuit and intimidation of civic activists for not being loyal enough to authorities.

"In 2017, on the initiative of President Putin, a large-scale campaign was organized in order to squeeze national languages out of the system of school education. The State Duma (parliament) of the Russian Federation made amendments to federal law "On Education," and nowadays study of official languages in national republics became optional. Under the guise of educational reform we have a reduction of teachers able to teach mother tongues of native peoples. Conditions for artificial depreciation of the status of official languages are being created in national republics," comments Syres Boliayen, co-founder of Free Idel-Ural movement.

National movements activists, pursued in Russia for their political beliefs, were named during the discussion. Free Idel-Ural activists paid special attention to the case of Tatar activist Danis Safarghali, acknowledged by human rights organizations as a political prisoner. Facts of obstruction of activity of such organizations as "Botentatar ictimagi Uzage," "Azatlyk" and "Basqort" were also reported to the audience.

Rafis Kashapov, political refugee from Tatarstan, who served three years in Russian prison for condemnation of Crimea annexation, addressed round table participants via Internet from London, where he received political asylum from the British government. Kashapov thanked Ukrainian politicians and scientists for their attention to problems of native peoples in Russia and wished speedy liberation to Ukrainian military seaman in Russian captivity.

Some 60 persons participated in the event, Ukrainian MPs Refat Chubarov, Borys Tarasiuk, Ihor Lutsenko and Serhiy Vysotsky among them.

Hanna Hopko, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, reported that at the next sessions of international organizations Ukrainian delegates will raise the question of oppression of rights of native peoples in Russia. Refat Chubarov appealed to his colleagues with the initiative to form an inter-factional group in the Ukrainian parliament, which will engage in defense of rights for the native peoples in the Russian Federation.

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