Russia: Mining companies, including OAO Yuzhnaya, violate indigenous Shor peoples' rights, say activists; includes company comments

According to the NGO report linked below, indigenous Shor people suffer from a process of systematic destruction resulting from mining companies’ operations, including OAO Yuzhnaya. The villagers are now displaced, some are reported homeless. No adequate substitute land has been offered and no compensation provided that would enable the former inhabitants to rebuild their livelihood. Their main place of worship, the sacred mountain of Karagai-Nash, has been severely violated by mining. Access to the cemetery where their ancestors are buried is greatly impeded.

We invited OAO Yuzhnaya and its managing company UK Evraz Mezhdurechensk to respond to the allegations raised in the report. UK Evraz Mezhdurechensk did not respond. OAO Yuzhnaya’s response is provided below (only available in Russian).

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Article
2 August 2016

Discrimination against Shor communities in Myski municipal district, Kemerovo Oblast, Russian Federation

Author: Myski local civic organisation “Revival of Kazas and the Shor people”, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) & Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (INFOE)

This submission...draws attention to the situation of the former inhabitants of the village of Kazas, Myski municipal district of Kemerovo Oblast. Kazas is a now defunct hamlet of indigenous Shor people, wholly surrounded by open cast mining sites...The village has suffered a process of systematic destruction driven by mining interests, from which the local authorities have failed to protect. The villagers are now displaced, some are reported homeless. No adequate substitute land has been offered and no compensation provided that would enable the former inhabitants to rebuild their livelihood. Their main place of worship, the sacred mountain of Karagai-Nash, has been severely violated by mining. Access to the cemetery where their ancestors are buried is greatly impeded...[T]he village of Kazas no longer exists. All houses except one, which is severely damaged, have been demolished or burned down. The villagers have been displaced, yet no effective redress or adequate compensation has been provided. This state of affairs is directly related to the issuing of a mining licence for the “Beregovoi” mine to OAO “Yuzhnaya”, a subsidiary of the “Sibuglemet” holding and subsequent failures on the part of the company to respect the rights of the inhabitants of the village and of the local authorities to protect their rights against abuse by third parties.

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