Bures, ollu giitu – Thank you, Madam Chair,
First of all, allow me to thank the organizers for providing me, on behalf of the Sámi Parliament, the Sámi people’s elected body in Norway, the opportunity to address the situation of the Sámi people connected to the human rights related to this Pre-session before the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Norway on 6th of May this year.
The State of Norway is built on the territory of two peoples, Sámi and Norwegians. The Sámi people lives close to and in Norwegian societies. In most cases, the Sámi are at the mercy of the State of Norway to take them into consideration, so that measures, programs and public services are adapted to also include the Sámi. At the same time, the Sámi Parliament depends on the State of Norway to pave the way for the Sámi Parliament by providing good financial and legal framework for promoting the development of the Sámi community. For us, it is a daily struggle to secure respect for the established Sámi rights, Sámi customs and our right to self-determination,
I will start by referring to the situation for our Sámi industries, such as reindeer herding, fishing, hunting and agriculture. In particular, we are being exposed to increasing outside pressures involving plans for encroachments by new industries and infrastructure. Our collective industrial resource bases, the grazing grounds, harvesting areas and fishing grounds, are at risk.
The government are giving permits and authorization to new mines and windpower industries that effects the use of our lands, territories and resources. This happens with an increasing pace, and in many cases without the Sámi People’s will, and without our free, prior and informed consent.
For instance, the reindeer herding community Åerjel Njaarke Sitje has, due to already existing exploitations, just a few winter pasture areas left. Nevertheless, the Norwegian government is authorizing an additional Power Plant in the remaining and crucial area.
In a reindeer population reduction case of a young Sámi, Jovsset Ante Sara, the case is brought to the Human Rights Committee. Despite of this, the Government have demanded forced slaughter of his reindeers even before the Committee has considered the complaint. We are concerned that this may express a new attitude from Norway where international complaint procedures are not respected.
The Sámi Parliament are critical to the status of implementation of recommendation 131.185 to Norway about mining in the second UPR cycle. Norway says the recommendation is fully implemented because there has been no state-run mining activity since 2014. It is a fact that the government in “the Nussir-case” earlier this year decided to give permission for a cobber mine and to approve the company to dump mining waste in one of our fishing fjords. In another disputed mining project, the Nasafjell quartz deposit, the government in 2016 approved the zoning plan for the project. It is the Sámi Parliament’s view, that the state of Norway has a significant role in allowing companies to start up mining and wind power projects in the Sámi area without the consent of the Sámi
The Government and the Sámi Parliament have reached agreement on a legalization of consultation rules in law. However, there are a lack of progress in the Norwegian Parliament.
The Sámi Parliament believes that effective participation means that process and content must be fully viewed in a context. In cases that are highly interfering in internal Sámi relations or in the resource base of Sámi culture, consent must be obtained. Without such an understanding, it becomes difficult in practice to achieve effective participation. In this context, I also find reason to refer to the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent, which is reaffirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially Articles 19 and 32, which reflect principles of international law, for instance the Human Rights Committee jurisprudence.
The Sámi Parliament is concerned about the violence indigenous women and children are exposed for, including in Sámi communities. Several recommendations have been made to Norway by convention-based UN committees and by the Norwegian National Human Rights Institution about drawing up a plan of action to combat the violence. Still nothing has happened.
The Norwegian Institution on Human Rights published a report in 2016 on the Sea Sámi’s right to fish in the sea, recommending the right to fish to be recognized in law and concludes in the same report that the current regulations are not sufficient to safeguard the Sea Sámi’s human rights. The recommendation has not yet been followed up by the government.
Finally, the situation of the Sámi languages are in a critical situation. There is still large lacks of pedagogical resources and teaching materials for the Sámi people. To secure the Sámi children and youth's right to education, there is an urgent need for increased
investments for developing of pedagogical resources and teaching materials for Sámi pupils. In 2016, the Sámi language Committee report was delivered. It is important that the government ensures a fast follow-up of the measures and law proposals in the report.
To conclude, the Sámi Parliament recommends the following:
• Recommend Norway to take measures to end violence against Sami women, such
as by creating a national action plan on violence against women, including Sami
women, which addresses strategies to end the violence;
• Recommend Norway to adopt the proposed Consultation law, in order to obtain the
principle of the right to free, prior and informed consent;
• Recommend Norway to recognize the Sami Peoples’ historical fishing rights in law;
• In the light of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, recommend Norway
to take measures to strengthen the Sámi languages, and to secure the Sámi access
to pedagogical resources and teaching materials in Sámi languages.
Ollu giitu – Thank you.