Law recognizing Crimean Tatars as indigenous people comes into force in Ukraine

Crimean Tatars
Canan Kevser
24 July 2021, 11:51
Canan Kevser
24 July 2021, 11:51

Newly-adopted legislation on indigenous peoples of Ukraine took effect in Ukraine on July 23, as President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed the law, according to the presidential press service.

The draft law "On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine", submitted by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the parliament on May 18, 2021, had 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. 

President's office said in a statement on Friday that the document was aimed at full protection of cultural, informational and other rights of indigenous peoples, providing them with mechanisms and tools for working with the Ukrainian state. In particular, the representative agencies of indigenous peoples were recognized.

"The indigenous people of Ukraine are an autochthonous ethnic community that formed on the territory of Ukraine and is a bearer of a distinctive language and culture, which has traditional, social, cultural or representative agencies, self-awareness of itself as an indigenous people of Ukraine, constitutes an ethnic minority within its population and does not have its own state formation outside of Ukraine," the statement wrote.

It is noted that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination within Ukraine and political status within the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. According to the explanatory note, they have the collective and individual right to full ownership of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The law also prohibits denying the ethnicity or ethnic identity of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine.

According to this document, indigenous peoples have the right to observe the revival and development of their spiritual, religious and cultural traditions and customs, to preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage; determination of the list of their own places and objects of religious and cultural significance; restoration of its historical place names; cooperation with educational institutions to ensure the study of their language, history, culture of the indigenous people.

Indigenous peoples were also given the right to create their own media through representative agencies, as well as receiving government support.

In addition, indigenous peoples can direct part of the income from the use of natural resources located in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol for their own needs; for reservation for representatives of indigenous peoples, return to the territory of Crimea, agricultural and other lands. Representative agencies of indigenous peoples can participate in their international representation.

The law comes into force from the date of its publication (except for Part 3 of Article 7, which defines the right of indigenous peoples to channel part of the proceeds from the use of natural resources for the needs of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, which comes into force after the return of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to a common jurisdiction of Ukraine).