Saami Council

EALLIN Final Report Delivered at Arctic Council Today

April 24, 2015 • Philip Burgess

PEALLIN Full Report CoverRESS RELEASE ON THE OCCASION OF THE ARCTIC COUNCIL MINISTERIAL (Download as a PDF)
April 24, 2015: Iqaluit, Canada

 

Reindeer Herding Youth Take Action on Arctic Change

Young Reindeer Herders Deliver Strong Message to Arctic Foreign Ministers at the 9th Arctic Council Ministerial in Canada

“For us, the reindeer is everything. If we lose the reindeer we lose our language, our culture, our traditions and the knowledge to move in the nature.”

[Participant at the EALLIN workshop in Jokkmokk, 2013]
A unique project called EALLIN involving reindeer herding youth from Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway has delivered a 120-page report, executive summary and recommendations to the Artic Council Ministerial meeting in Canada today. More than 160 indigenous youth from multiple regions in Russia, Mongolia, Finland, Sweden and Norway participated in 12 community based workskops over four years. “EALLIN” means ‘life’ in the Sami language and the project was backed by Norway, the Russian Federation and the Saami Council. EALLIN calls attention to the serious challenges faced by young reindeer herders, such as mental health, a lack of appropriate education and a lack of participation in local community development.

Reindeer herding youth are the future of reindeer herding, and the strong message from engaged youth was that they wanted to continue herding reindeer, as it ‘a good life’. However, there are many issues and challenges that are making life ‘not so good’ everywhere where reindeer are herded. EALLIN brought young reindeer herders of the taiga and tundra together to bring their voices to the Arctic Council. Reindeer herdings youth in the Circumpolar North are on the frontlines of monitoring the rapid ongoing changes in the Arctic, therefore, their knowledge and skills are key for their future existence in their home pastures and territories.

“Our peoples are undergoing dramatic and historical changes in our homelands, changes that we have never seen in the millenia-old histories of the reindeer herding peoples of the north” states Arctic Council EALLIN Project Lead Dr Mikhail Pogodaev, the Executive Chair of Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH).

“We know enough about the changes to act”, concludes Anders Oskal, Project Co-Lead and Co-Author of the IPCC 5th Report. “We don’t need more assessments to understand, basically, we have to do things differently now if these societies and cultures are to survive and thrive under the Arctic boom – and bust”. And doing things differently is exactly what the EALLIN report calls for.

Delivered to Arctic Council: “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples – Executive Summary” and “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples”, Full Project Report 120 pages,

Downloads available at eallin.org

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UN Criticizes Sweden – On Land Rights, Resources, Reindeer

August 19, 2008 • Philip Burgess

(Press release from the Saami Council) The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticizes Sweden for numerous forms of discrimination of the Saami people in unusually concrete and strong language, in particular with regard to the Saami people’s right to land.

The United Nations has for several years condemned Sweden for not recognizing the Saami people’s right to land and resources. Sweden has ignored this criticism so far taking no single action to end the discrimination of the Saami people identified by the UN. The UN now sharpens its criticism further. The UN Committee on Racial Discrimination released on Monday 18.8 its Concluding Observations on Sweden in which it calls on Sweden to take several concrete actions to end the human rights violations Sweden subjects the Saami people to.

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“Companies and Swedish State Both Breach Saami Rights” Saami Council/SSR Press Release

February 21, 2008 • Philip Burgess

JOINT PRESS RELEASE by the Saami Council and the National Swedish Saami Association
2008-02-21
 
Saami areas in Sweden are currently experiencing an explosion in mining and windpower development. There has been an increase in both Scandinavian and foreign companies in prospecting, mining and windpower. Ironically, while many of these companies market themselves to investors based on principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, companies often fail to see the connection between the impacts of their activities and the rights of Saami people.
 
“The Saami Council and the National Swedish Saami Association are in dialogue with several companies, one of which is Blackstone Ventures Inc. This is a Canadian exploration company, who claim to respect the rights of indigenous people in Canada. At the same time, the company seems to have no problem with performing intrusive exploration activities in sensitive Saami reindeer herding areas in Swedish nature reserves”, says Mattias Åhrén, Head of Human Rights at the Saami Council.
 
The Saami Council and The National Swedish Saami Association (SSR) are demanding that companies and the Swedish state both take responsibility to ensure that Saami rights are protected before development projects – such as mining and windpower – go ahead.

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