The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted the law on Indigenous People of Ukraine, now lawmakers working through the law on the status of the Crimean Tatar people, says MP Rustem Umerov.
Member of Ukrainian Parliament and Delegate of the Qurultay of Crimean Tatar People Mr Rustem Umerov assessed the details of the relevant law in an exclusive interview with QHA.
The draft law "On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine", submitted by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the parliament on May 18, 2021, was approved in the extraordinary session held on July 1. According to the bill, Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks are recognized as indigenous peoples of Ukraine.
According to Mr Umerov, the Parliament's next goal would be amending the law on the status of the Crimean Tatar people.
Lawmakers were discussing this for 30 years
The law on indigenous peoples, which has been negotiated for 30 years, was submitted to the parliament this year by President Zelensky. We collaborated with all committees during the drafting stage. At the same time, we explained the content of this law to the media representatives and the Ukrainian people.
The term "indigenous peoples" already existed in the Ukrainian constitution, in line with international law, but there was no separate law on indigenous peoples. The new bill was created in order to protect the language, religion, customs and traditions of the Crimean Tatars, Karaims and Krymchaks.
State protection against external threats to indigenous peoples
The law also includes state support and financing of institutions such as Crimean Tatar institutions. In addition, if there is an element that poses a threat to indigenous peoples, the law ensures the protection of these (indigenous) peoples by the state. Therefore, Ukraine has to protect the Crimean Tatars in the current situation.
The Law on Indigenous Peoples is very important as it provides a basis. Since this law has approved, we will be able to present various projects to the government. We can coordinate any kind of programs and development projects thanks to this law.
Law on the status of Crimean Tatar People
Umerov stated that after the adoption of the fundamental law on indigenous peoples, the next draft law would be prepared on the status of the Crimean Tatars. He added that the new bill would be even more comprehensive.
“The most important issues described by this new law (on indigenous peoples) are: Who are indigenous peoples, what are their rights, and whether these rights are protected by law... Soon, when we draft the law on the status of the Crimean Tatar people, we will expand the framework even more. For example, governing of the Crimean Tatars, election rules of their Mejlis and Qurultay etc." Rustem Umerov explained.
Free Trade Zone Crimea
Umerov also said that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has cancelled the free trade zone "Crimea", which was introduced by law in August 2014, contradicting to rights of Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
"The abolition of this law is a great victory. Thanks to this, we are also prepared for the Crimean Platform Summit," he said.
According to him, Businesses would no longer benefit from the legal loophole to conduct trade activities in the occupied territories.