Open letter in support of Mr. Andrei Danilov and other Indigenous activists in Russia affected by reprisals and harassment organized by police and governmental bodies

Russian version

Sign the letter here:

Russian President, Mr. Vladimir Putin
Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sergey Lavrov

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Michelle Bachelet Jeria,
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Mr. Francisco Cali Tzay,
UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Mary Lawlor
UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 
Council of Europe Chair of the Committee of Ministers Mr. Péter Szijjártó,
Council of Europe President of the Assembly Mr. Rik Daems,
Council of Europe President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Mr. Leendert Verbeek,
Council of Europe Secretary General Mrs. Marija Pejčinović Burić,
European Court of Human Rights President Mr. Robert Spano,
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Dunja Mijatović 
Embassies of the Council of Europe countries in Moscow, Russian and international media,
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the United States Congress,
Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation, Mr. John J. Sullivan

Other concerned parties 

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are deeply concerned about growing intimidations and reprisals against Indigenous activists and rights defenders in Russia, exemplified by the recent illegal detention of Andrei Danilov in Murmansk region. We demand an immediate end to intimidation and harassment of Indigenous activists and Indigenous rights defenders in the Russian Federation.

Detention of Sámi activist Andrei Danilov on 29 August 2021:

The August detention at a festival of Sámi activist and Sámi Heritage and Development Foundation director Andrei Danilov in Monchegorsk (Murmansk region) is one of the latest incidents in a series of acts of harassment against Indigenous activists and rights defenders in Russia in recent years. Andrei Danilov was unlawfully detained by the police after, fearing for his safety, he refused to present his belongings for inspection without witnesses. The activist was detained for 5 days and charged with “failure to comply with the lawful order of a police officer”.

Indigenous rights defender Stepan Petrov declared a “foreign media acting as a foreign agent” in Yakutia on 20 August, 2021:

The Russian Law on Foreign Agents can now be used to target individuals. Ten days prior to Danilov’s detention, the Indigenous activist Stepan Petrov became the first Indigenous person in Russia to receive the “foreign agent” label. Petrov chairs the nonprofit group Yakutia –Our Opinion, which is well-known in Yakutia for human rights work. The activist submitted numerous appeals to the United Nations calling on the Russian government to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and to support civil society in Russia.

Indigenous activist Alexander Gabyshev sentenced to compulsory treatment in a mental hospital in Yakutia on 26 July 2021:

The well-known spiritual leader Alexander Gabyshev from Yakutia has been detained numerous times since his Spring 2019 march on Moscow. His detention in May 2020 resulted in his involuntary placement in a psychiatric program. The premier human rights group Memorial declared Gabyshev a political prisoner. After his release in July 2020, he was once again forced into hospitalization. In February 2021, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Gabyshev under the pretense of violence against a government official, and the following month he was declared insane on the basis of a state psychiatric examination. In July 2021 a Yakutsk municipal court found him guilty of harming a police officer during an earlier arrest and sentenced him to compulsory treatment in a psychiatric clinic as a danger to others. Gabyshev will likely spend the next 2 years in a mental health institution where he does not belong.

Other cases of reprisals and harassment of Indigenous activists, rights defenders, and organizations:

15 September 2021: The authorities opened a criminal case against Sergei Kechimov in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug according to media reports. The local activist who campaigns to protect the sacred lake Imlor from oil extracting giant Surgutneftegaz. According to Kechimov, he was beaten by three company employees, yet he was the one charged by the police.

31 August 2021: Eiko Serotetto, a reindeer herder and Indigenous activist from the Yamal Peninsula in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, was sentenced to three months of personal restraint for fighting with another person in an Indigenous village. Despite the facts that Serotetto did not initiate the fight and that the brawlers subsequently reconciled, the police opened a criminal case against the activist. In 2019, Serotetto was investigated by police for organizing a meeting of Yamal reindeer herders where they discussed rights violations by oil companies.

24 August 2020: Vyacheslav Krechetov, a well-known filmmaker from Kemerovo Oblast, was detained by police for organizing a public event during which the Indigenous community of Cheremza protested a new coal facility near the village. Krechetov was found guilty and fined 20,000 rubles (275 USD) for filming the event. The fine and charges were later dismissed by a local court.

10 August 2020: Arsenty Nikolaev, deputy of the Yakutia Republic regional parliament and head of the Indigenous Tyanya community association, was arrested and placed under house arrest for speaking out in opposition to the activities of the Neryungri Metallik gold-mining company. After almost a year of house arrest, the regional court freed Nikolaev. However, the court did not close the criminal case against him despite the appeal court’s finding that business relations among stakeholders were legal.

November 2019: a Moscow city court ordered the closure of the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North/Russian Indigenous Training Center (CSIPN/RITC) on the grounds that its legal documentation was incomplete. CSIPN was the most important independent Indigenous rights group in Russia. Human rights defenders consider the organization’s closure as the final act in a long campaign by the authorities to silence the organization. CSIPN’s leader Rodion Sulyandziga was arrested in 2016, preventing his participation in a seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ rights in Moscow. Earlier in 2014, Russian border guards stopped Sulyandziga from participating in a UN conference on Indigenous peoples’ rights by damaging his passport at the airport. Several other Indigenous activists were also stopped from traveling to the same event under questionable circumstances.

This is not a complete but representative list of government reprisal cases against Indigenous activists. It shows an increasing pattern of intimidation and repression facing these activists and rights defenders. This dangerous and unlawful trend must be ceased.

With this regard we, the undersigned organizations and individuals, demand an end to intimidation and harassment of Indigenous activists and Indigenous rights defenders in the Russian Federation.

Organizational Signatories:

1. Society for Threatened Peoples (Switzerland)
2. Society for Threatened Peoples (Germany)
3. Arctic Consult (Norway)
4. Batani International Indigenous Fund for Development and Solidarity (USA)
5. Association of Ethical Shareholders (Germany)
6. The Altai Project (USA)
7. Cultural Survival (USA)
8. American Russian-speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (USA)
9. “Equals” Initiative Group (Russia)
10. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights (USA)
11. Foundation of Sami heritage and development (Russia)
12. Chirapaq/Continental Network of Indigenous women of the Americas ECMIA (Americas)
13. Union des peuples autochtones pour le réveil au développement (Burundi)
14. London Mining Network (UK)
15. European Network on Indigenous Peoples (Europe)
16. Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (Germany)
17. International Indian Treaty Council (USA)
18. United Confederation of Taino People (Caribbean)
19. Tribal Link Foundation (USA)
20. Socio-ecological union international (Global)
21. Friends of the Earth Europe, Belgium
23. Forest Peoples Programme (UK)
24. Aborigen Forum Network (Russia)
25. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (Nepal)
26. Incomindios (Switzerland)
27. The Public Organization for the Promotion of Legal Education and the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Sámi of the Murmansk Region (OOSMO)
28. Indigenous small people of the North “Iyus kizhileri” People of Chulym, (Russia)
29. ISSI Ilukim Sustainability Solomon Islands
30. Coal Action Network (UK)
31. Igapo Project (France)
32. Ekologia Kirovska (Russia)
33.Tajik Social and Ecological Union (Tajikistan)
34. Indigenous Peoples Rights International (Philippines)
35. Хакасский общественный экологический фонд “Ирис” (Russia)
36. Bureau for Regional Outreach Campaigns – BROC (Russia)
37. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) (Global)
38. Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (India)
39. Association of Ethical Shareholders (Germany)
40. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (Thailand)
41. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development, IPGFforSD (Global)
42. Association pour l’Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi, AIDB (Burundi)
43. Justice House
44. WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development (Germany)
45. Tribhuvan University (Nepal)
46. Plough Back The Fruits (Austria)
47. Nepal Kirat Kulung Bhasa Sanskriti Utthan Sangh (Nepal)
48. International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)(Global)
49. Force Weavers (UK)
50. Антиядерное общество Татарстана (Russia)
51. Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) (Nepal)
52. Biodiversity Conservation Center (Russia)
53. Indigenous Young Moms (Kenya)
54. CIPAE- Puebla (Mexico)
55. Bicol Press Corps (Philippines)
56. Oyu Tolgoi Watch NGO (Mongolia)
57. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition (Mongolia)
58. Congrès Mondial Amazigh (North Africa)
59. Global Witness (USA)
60. Sisters of Mercy (USA)
61. IPRI (UK)
62. Bruno Manser Fonds (Switzerland)
63. OSSU (USA)
64. Center for Cultural Evolution (USA)
65. Indigenous Taiwan Self-Determination Alliance (Taiwan)
66. Sengwer of Embobut CBO (Kenya)
67. Agencia Internacional de Prensa Indígena AIPIN (Mexico)
68. CIESAS (Mexico)
69. A New Vision of Living (USA)
70. Integrated Capital Investing (USA)
71. Mohawk Farm (USA)
72. RIPESS Lac
73. Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario AC (IMDEC) (Mexico)
74. JazzSLAM (USA)
75. Working Group on Food Justice (The Netherlands)
77. David Hedmann & Associates (USA)
78. Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (USA)
79. Center for World Indigenous Studies (USA)
80. North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE) (USA)
81. Women Empowerment Nepal (Nepal)
82. Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) (Philippines
83. Red Willow Womyn’s Society (Canada)
84. Fundación Kaluibaky (Panama)
85. Sunrise Silicon Valley (USA)
86. National Campaign on Adivasi Rights – NCAR (India)
87. FIAN Belgium (USA)
88. Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM) (Luxemburg)
89. URALIC Centre (Estonia)
90. Urgenci International Network
91. Centro Internazionale Crocevia (Italy)
92. Elaya (Switzerland)
93. Tribal Trust Foundation (USA)
94. Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) (Thailand)
95. Women Working Group (WWG) (Indonesia)
96. Movimiento de la Juventud Kuna (Panama)
97. Appleton Foundation (USA)
99. Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition (Egypt)
100. ADeDBENIN (Benin)
101. Partners for Indigenous Knowledge (Philippines)
102. Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) (Philippines)
103. Terra Nuova (Italy)
104. Ole Siosiomaga Society Inc. (Samoa)
105. International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development (IOIRD) (Canada)
106. Pastoralists Indigenous NGOs -PINGO’s Forum (Tanzania)
107. Ecology Africa Foundation (South Africa)
108. COPORWA (Rwanda)
109. Circle Calaveras (USA)
110. Landelijk Netwerk Bossen- en Bomenbescherming (Netherlands)
111. Wild Wild Yeast (UK)
112. Naga Women Union (India)
113. Amigos de la Tierra (Spain)
114. Transnational Institute (International)
115. Unidad de la Fuerza Indígena y Campesina (Mexico)
116. Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Czech Republic)

Individual Signatories:

Татьяна Кожевина, Russia
Вячеслав Шадрин, Russia
Vyacheslav Krechetov, Russia
Victor Lukarevskiy, PhD, Russia
Elena Agarkova Belov, United States
Sophie Alix Capdeville, Finland
Dr. P. A. Azeez, India
Sophie Alix Capdeville, PhD, Finland
Alaysa Escandor, Philippines
Dr. Alexandra Tomaselli (Eurac Research), Italy
Rasdi Wangsa, Indonesia
Mx. Hanah Alteza, Philippines
Ande Somby, Norway
Dr. Azril Bacal Roij, Mexiko
Daria Motora, Russia
Em Prof Ben Boer, Australia
Cornelia Flora, Distinguished Professor Emerita, USA
Georgia Braithwaite, United States
Dr. E. W. Browne, United States
Rupert Collister, Canada
Mr. Eric Scheihagen, Taiwan
Erika Daleus, Canada
Samuel Morningstar, United States
Maura Parolini, Italy
Bobbie Flowers, United States
Pam Evans, United States
Saraliza Anzaldua, USA
Meghan King, United States of America
Patricia A Darling, United States
Paul Peterhans, United States
Burton Steck, USA
Ms. Lene Hansen, Denmark
Ulrike Solbrig, Germany
Judith Blümel , Deutschland
James Mulcare, United States
Richard Heller M.A., USA
Nr Rafał Roszkowski, Poland
Mr Steve Overton, United Kingdom
Ms. Felicity Hohenshelt, United States
Isabel Brennan, United States
Elizabeth Watts, United States
Revd Roger Quick, United Kingdom
Carmen Cochran, United States
Ms Joann Koch, USA
Carol Fletcher, United States
C Anishnabie, Canada
Bianca Molgora, United States
Timea Campedelli, Germany
Ms Stefania Niccoli, Italy
Barbara Van Dyck, Belgium
Ms. Martha Schmitz, USA
Ms Patricia M Jenkins, United Kingdom
Robin Moore, Community Organizer, United States
Dr. Patricia G. Foschi, United States
Dave Elliot, Canada
Mr. PJ Hamidi, United States
Markus Zander, Germany
Jesús Homero Romero Fiedler, Mexico
Andreas Palm, Germany
Dr. Julián Antonio Carrillo, USA
Barbara Hermanns (Germany)
Francesca Fairbairn (UK)
Nica Novlesky, Canada
Курилова Ирина, Russia
Мурашко Ольга, Russia