Statement at Defenders Days 12.4.2018

STATEMENT OF STEFAN MIKAELSSON (member of Saami parliament) AT CIVIL RIGHTS DEFENDERS CONFERENCE 12.4.2018.

Greetings from Sápmi!

I will dedicate my intervention to commendante Esther, the first indigenous representative to be invited to make a statement to the national parliament of the republic of Mexico.

My name is Stefan Mikaelsson and I am a member of the Sami Parliament’s plenary assembly. The Sami Parliament was established in 1993 and has 31 members, the plenary- sessions are held three times a year.

Thank you for the opportunity to attend here!

The Sami nation was acknowledge in the Lapp Codicill at the 1751 Border Treaty between beligerent countries of Kingdoms of Denmark- Norway and kingdom of Sweden. This valuable document is commonly referred to as the Sami freedom letter, a magna charta for the Sami nation.

The first cross-border meeting was held on February 6, 1917, in Trondheim. The pioneer, activist and icon Elsa Laula from gardfjäll, organised & participated in this arrangement.

And 75 years later, could Sami organizations meet for the first time across national borders. It was no longer possible for the national borders to hinder the community of our people.

So in 1992 at the Nordic Saami Council Conference in Helsinki, the delegates decided to adopt the Sami National Day on 6 of February. The conference also decided to appoint the Kola Sami Association as a full member and once again the Sami family was brought together.

Honouring the occasion, the assembly of Nordic Saami Council could thus rename the organisation and become the Sami Council- Союз Саамов, an umbrella organization across the borders and for Sami organizations in Russian Federation, Republic of Finland & the Kingdom of Sweden- Norway.

A small step for mankind, but a giantleap for the saami nation.

The Sami on the Swedish side has since 2011 been referred to as its own distinct people in the Swedish Constitution. Or as we usually say about our status: Not more worth than other peoples, but not less less either.

In the meantime, let us be pleased with our predecessors and the endless conferences and wast amount of decisions that have been adopted. Never before have we the saami have better opportunities to know what good for us and have been able to speak for ourselves. Its no longer accepted that other chooses do that in our name.

However, even today the culture genocide do occurs and the kingdom of Sweden officially & with support of law, did burn down and totally destroy an old traditional hut that belong to an elderly saami woman.

Shame is brought upon state of Sweden, when a small peacefull arctic indigenous culture is treated like a threat to the state!

Discrimination Ombudsman’s Press Release March 21, 2013. Racism is a force that permeates Western society and underpins the structural and institutional discrimination in Europe and Sweden.

Permanent Forum within the UN system presented a report in 2010 that showed that the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples disproportionately suffer from assimilation, climate change, discrimination, extreme hunger, extreme poverty, harassment, invisibility,  land degradation, militarization, threats, violence and human rights violations.

Establishing borders on indigenous peoples’ traditional areas have thus in most cases only confirmed the opposite interests, differences and creating conflicts.

Elitism, fanatism & nationalism, are thus a living tool to break down indigenous cultures and for permanent assimilation.            And thats even in today’s modern societies in the midsth of dominating national cultures of Europe.

Indigenous peoples are not part of the problem, we are part of the solution, and that solution also includes indigenous women’s right to self-identification and the right to free, prior and informed conscent.

In conclusion I will quote the Kimberley-declaration from 2002:

”Today, we confirm our relationship with Mother Earth and our committement to future generations to uphold peace, equity and justice”

A Different World Is Possible !!

Thank you very much for the attention.

Stefan Mikaelsson 12.4.2018.

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