The following statement was delivered by Ms.Abbasova on behalf of SMHRIC.
Immediately after this statement was delivered, Zhu Ningyu, member of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, responded to the statement, calling it "is a challenge to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
Mr.Tegusbayar (1st row
right) at the United
Nations Permanent Forum
on Indigenous Issues 8th
Session along with
Madam Chairperson, distinguished Permanent Forum members, and distinguished indigenous peoples representatives.
Home to five million indigenous Mongolian people, Southern Mongolia, widely known as Inner Mongolia, was officially incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1949. During this 60 year period, the Chinese Government has carried out a series of state-sponsored massacres, heavy-handed political repression, large scale population transfer, cultural assimilation and near total destruction of the natural environment of Southern Mongolia. As a result of large scale Chinese population transfer, today the Mongols constitute only 18% of the total population in the region. The natural grasslands where the Mongols maintained their nomadic way of life for thousands of years have been destroyed by unsound mining operations and the non-sustainable farming practices of millions of Chinese immigrants.
In order to cover up the ecological destruction, and to justify their population transfer policy, the Chinese authorities have started blaming on the indigenous Mongolian herders, claiming that the ecological degradation is caused by the indigenous Mongolian “primitive” and “backward” nomadic way of life, despite the fact that the true cause of the ecological destruction of Southern Mongolia is the non-sustainable farming practice of 12 million Chinese peasants who are cultivating the land every spring.
Madam Chair, Mongolian people have maintained their traditional nomadic way of life for thousands of years in a perfect harmony with the natural environment. Now, under the Chinese Government’s so-called “Ecological Migration” and “Livestock Grazing Prohibition” laws, grazing livestock on grassland is considered as an “illegal act”. The Chinese Government recently setup a special taskforce called “Livestock Prohibition Team” that is authorized the right to confiscate Mongolian herders’ livestock grazing on grassland and given the right to arrest, detain, torture the livestock herders and issue tickets to livestock herders. Herds of livestock are confiscated and hundreds of herders have been detained and beaten up by the taskforce personnel on daily basis for grazing their livestock on their grazing lands.
In addition to these egregious policies, mining or the so-called “opening up” is another problem threatening our community and our natural environment. Hundreds of Chinese and foreign mining companies are rushing into our ancestral land and opening up mines under the Chinese policies of so-called “Western Development”, and “Western-Energy-to-East”.
Madam Chair, China has recently declared that “Inner” Mongolia with its reach oil, gas, coal and other minerals has become the “energy base” of China. Behind this arrogant statement, what is going on is that the indigenous Mongolian people are being coercively displaced from their ancestral land without free, prior and informed consent; their sacred places have been opened up, and toxic industrial wastes have been dumped on their grazing lands.
Madam Chair, China has signed the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples without considering her 55 indigenous peoples as “indigenous”. As you all know, China is not a country of rule of law, and the Government of China has continually ignored its citizens’ basic human rights and fundamental freedom that are guaranteed by both the Chinese Constitutions and the Universal Human Rights Declaration. Given this circumstance, my question to the Permanent Forum is:
What mechanism does the Permanent Forum have to ensure that China respects and protects rights of indigenous peoples within her borders?