Recently, news came out that the local association of indigenous peoples is organizing an ethnological examination based on the results of the ecological disaster in Taimyr. RAIPON and a number of scientific organizations also joined here. So what's wrong with ethnological expertise?
The first is the misapplication of substantive law. In Russian law, there is a conceptual error regarding the role, place and procedure for conducting ethnological expertise. At the end of June 2020, I defended my master's thesis on this topic. Thesis:
- Ethnological expertise is a scientific study, the purpose of which is a long-term forecast of the development of an ethnic group. This is not a compensation mechanism! Determining the amount of compensation and its recipients is not the task of ethnological expertise. The right to compensation for damage caused to the original habitat by third-party economic activities is a separate, independent right of the indigenous peoples of the North.
- Ethnological expertise, as a scientific study, is aimed at studying the changes in the original habitat of the indigenous peoples of the North. And we are talking about all types of changes. Caused by both anthropogenic impact (economic activity) and other reasons (climatic changes, predicted natural phenomena or disasters). Moreover, not only negative, but also positive changes should be investigated.
- Ethnological expertise is carried out in the development of state programs. Such as natural resource development programs, and environmental protection programs. In cases where such programs affect the indigenous habitat of the indigenous minorities.
Ethnological expertise is undoubtedly an important mechanism for realizing the rights of indigenous peoples. At the same time, ethnological expertise is important precisely as a scientific research, with the help of which it is possible to make a forecast about the further development of an ethnos. And it pursues scientific, social and cultural rather than economic goals. By itself, this mechanism should be a part of national policy at the federal and regional levels, and not a way to resolve local economic issues.
Ethnological expertise, as a scientific research, should be carried out in the development of federal and regional state programs. Such as programs for the development of natural resources, and programs for the protection of the environment, the action of which fully or partially covers places and territories related to the original habitat of indigenous peoples.
The results of the ethnological expertise carried out should be taken into account when developing strategic planning documents. Also, the conclusions and recommendations of the conducted ethnological examinations should be laid down as licensing conditions for the implementation of third-party economic activities affecting the original habitat of indigenous peoples.
All these norms are spelled out in the current edition of the Federal Law "On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation". They don't require any changes! Only the correct interpretation.
In addition, the existing regional experience in conducting ethnological expertise (the Sakhalin Oblast and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is absolutely detrimental for the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation. The reason is the incorrect interpretation of the norms prescribed in the Federal Law "On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation." relations regarding the conduct of ethnological expertise.
In the Sakhalin region, not a single ethnological examination was carried out. In the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the regional law has acquired an electoral effect (which is unacceptable), with negligible coverage.
Thus, conducting an ethnological examination following the results of the Taimyr catastrophe is another dusting of the brains of the indigenous peoples. Making the appearance of beneficial activity. Creation of the appearance of taking into account the interests and rights of indigenous peoples. Distracting "white noise" in the information space. As a result, local indigenous minorities risk receiving pitiful handouts and remaining to survive in unfit conditions.
In this case, it is necessary to apply with a collective statement of claim to Norilsk Nickel, with a claim for damages for the long-term negative impact and actual destruction of the original habitat of local indigenous peoples. In fact, we are talking about the most serious criminal offense - ecocide. However, a case under such an article should be initiated by law enforcement agencies, which do not exist in the Russian Federation.
It's too late to talk about the preservation of the people. The original environment and all opportunities for traditional life and economic activity have been destroyed. The question of physical survival must be raised. Require targeted payments from the company, sufficient for the move and an acceptable standard of living. International law knows such practice, including judicial.