The traditional way of living of the indigenous communities of the Russian Arctic is increasingly under threat: as well as suffering the severe effects of climate change, these peoples are also affected by the industrial exploitation of natural resources and the associated pollution. In May 2020, near the city of Norilsk in Siberia, 21,000 tons of diesel were spilled from a defective tank into the tundra, resulting in the heavy pollution of two rivers. This incident is one of the worst environmental disasters ever inflicted upon the Arctic. Norilsk Nickel, known as Nornickel, the company behind this, had already attracted attention due to its environmentally harmful busi- ness practices. This repeated pollution of the environment is slowly poisoning the ecologically sensitive habitat of the indigenous communities. The diesel disaster actually endangers even their subsistence: one year after the disaster, the food supply, for many, is no longer guaranteed.
However, the Nornickel group is showing no interest in addressing the problems of the indigenous communities and entering into a dialogue on an equal footing with their legitimate representati- ves. Furthermore, the Russian state grants the indigenous communities hardly any rights. For ex- ample, they have no legal right to have a say in matters related to natural resources or land use.
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) supports the independent indigenous network Aborigen Forum in their claims against the Nornickel corporation for their breaches of human rights, in particular, as regards Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), fair compensation, as well as for an independent investigation of the diesel accident. The STP is requesting Metal Trade Overseas SA, Nornickel‘s Swiss branch, and the Swiss banks involved with Nornickel, to put pressure on Nornickel and demand that they take appropriate measures.factsheet_arktis_en_def-3