URALIC Centre joined the Equal Treatment Network

We are very pleased to welcome into the Equal Treatment Network URALIC Centre, which promotes and protects the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. The network coordinator, Uljana Ponomarjova, is confident that URALIC will strengthen the network and provide additional expertise on indigenous issues. We asked Oliver Loode, the head of the NGO, what motivated them to join the network and how he sees our future cooperation.

The desire to jointly contribute to the development of human rights

 “According to the standard conception, we do not have any issues regarding human rights in Estonia. This is probably one of the reasons why there are relatively few organisations focused on human rights in Estonia, and dealing with human rights can be quite lonely. Therefore even more so it makes sense to know each other in this small community, exchange ideas and information, and cooperate. This has a motivating effect, which can be mutually beneficial and contribute to the development of human rights in Estonia,” explains Oliver Loode. He sees the Equal Treatment Network as a kind of cooperation network between human rights defenders and organisations, which is one of a kind in Estonia. “Therefore one should rather ask why has URALIC not joined the network earlier. We share the same values ​​and want to be a full member of the Estonian human rights community,” said Loode.

Oliver Loode soome-ugri maailmakongressil
Oliver Loode at the VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples in Tartu. Loode declared the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture of 2022 – the village of Baiterek in Udmurtia. The URALIC Centre acts as the secretariat of the Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture.

Looking forward to meaningful discussions, cooperation is a bonus

Loode is looking forward to a good and meaningful exchange of ideas with the network members, and if it will develop into a real cooperation, it will be a bonus. “I want to better understand the concerns and dreams of other members of the network, and I hope that topics that are important for URALIC will also address other members. As we have a rather narrow field of activity: the rights of indigenous peoples and, to some extent, national minorities, we are perhaps less aware of what is happening in other areas. The network could help fill in these gaps,” said the head of URALIC.

Competence to participate in the preparation of shadow reports

It is currently difficult to predict how URALIC can best contribute to the work of the network according to Loode but they will definitely get a clearer view when interacting with other members. “A lot depends on the extent to which URALIC’s narrower field speaks to them and the other way around, the extent to which I see points of contact and opportunities for cooperation with network members. I am aware that the Equal Treatment Network has participated in the preparation of various shadow reports related to Estonia. URALIC will definitely be interested in participating in the preparation of reports about issues that are important to us and where we have competence in the future,” Loode is confident.

“Maybe someday we will have a joint network meeting in Otepää – maybe even this winter, if we are blessed with nice ski weather!” said the head of the URALIC Centre as a conclusion.

Welcome to the network!

The project is supported by the Active Citizens Fund of EEA Grants, which is operated by Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organisations.

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