Delegates, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Saara-Maria Salonen and I represent the Finnish Sámi parliament and I am a part of sami parliaments youth council.
On behalf of the Finnish Saami Parliament we would like to thank the WGIP for the invitation to take part in the Barents regions indigenous peoples congress for the second time now. We would like to thank our speakers for yesterday, the topics were very interesting. We would also like to thank Dr. James Anaya for attending this conference and we appreciate the significant work he has done for indigenous peoples. We think that although the congress is still young it will gain more and more importance as a key tool for indigenous peoples in the areas where we see and feel more and more pressure. For example in Finnish side of Sapmi from the mining companies, mass-tourism and other forms of natural resource extractions.
I would like to use a little bit time on telling about some major movements from the Finnish side of Sapmi. Finnish Saami Parliament had the first time in history the possibility to take part in Finnish governments cabinet negotiations forming new majority government. The ILO 169 ratification means are now said clearly that in the next coming 4 years ILO 169 will be ratified. The UN convention on biodiversity and its paragraph 8j has been a key factor on getting a process started to secure traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, in this case in
the Saamis. We feel that
this specific paragraph can be a good tool for others too as its meaning is for
all the indigenous peoples. Finland
We feel that the work of WGIP is very important and we see that especially on “Barents issues” we have a lot of work to do and follow, as the area has gained special attention from the whole world as a place of rich natural resources. For the Finnish Saami parliament these last couple of months have been a very important. In the Finnish side we have had Saami parliament elections and five days from now, on 15.february, they are going to organize themselves and this has a straight connection to the WGIPs work as the Finnish Saami parliaments member in the WGIP will be selected for the next 4 years. We would like to recognize the work of our member Tuomas Aslak Juuso from the work he has done for the last 4 years regarding to WGIPs work. Unfortunatelly he couldn’t be here today but sends a lot of greetings to the congress.
As a key remark to the declaration draft we would first like to highlight and talk about the importance of using declaration as a tool to promote our issues. We feel that promoting and using the declaration should be done more effectively, and if we don’t do so, we find ourselves working inefficiently. Especially in the Barents system we need to raise awareness of the declaration and promote it too, to make it more known by the decision makers.
The Finnish Sámi parliament has been pleased with the Action Plan but we have a few marks on the resolution:
About the third paragraph:
Affirming also Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions,
To the third paragraph we would like to point out here that Indigenous peoples should also have the right to determine themselves the definition of who can be called for example sámi.
About the 13th paragraph:
Welcomes the report and recommendation by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya on the situation of the Sami people in the Sápmi region of
Sweden and Finland
Here we would like to see more proposal form towards the states that they should resolve the remarks that special rapporteur has noticed. We think that the congress should take more proposing role towards the states especially in this case.
We would like to thank the organizers for making this congress possible. We wish the best of luck for us all and hope we’ll see each other in the future many times more. Thank you for your interest and for listening.