Uilta-Language Translation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Presented at the VIIth Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and the Russian Far East

28 March 2013, Salekhard, Russia. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Sakhalin Energy investment Company Ltd. presented a translation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into the Uilta Language to the public.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General assembly on 13 September 2007. It covers a wide range of human rights and fundamental freedoms that apply to indigenous peoples, including the right to maintain and develop their cultural diversity and their specific identities, as well as the right to own, use and develop the lands and resources that they have traditionally used or owned.

The translation was done by Elena Bibikova and Irina Fedyayeva with financial support from Sakhalin Energy.

“Respect for and observance of human rights is one of the key principles for our company”, says Roman Dashkov, Sakhalin Energy’s Chief Executive Officer. “We strive for the sustainable development of Sakhalin Island that is impossible without preserving the culture and traditions of its first inhabitants, the indigenous peoples of the North; therefore, not only have we developed and implemented a special plan to support and develop the island’s indigenous peoples, but we are also engaged in the preservation of their languages. I hope the Uilta-language translation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will serve this purpose.”

Mr. Rachid Alouach, National Human Rights Officer, Office of Senior Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team in Russian Federation, which represents the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, reminded that protection of the rights of indigenous people is one of the United Nations priorities. In the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples it is indicated that Indigenous peoples have the right for decent living, the right for preservation and strengthening of their institutes, culture and traditions, and also that they have the right to develop in their own way which complies with their needs and aspirations. The translation of the Declaration into indigenous peoples’ languages will undoubtedly promote this, and we are grateful to the “Sakhalin Energy” company for this initiative.
The translation was presented to the public at the VIIth Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and the Russian Far East in the city of Salekhard. The Congress united 370 delegates from 47 Russian regions, including federal and regional government officials, representatives of international organisations and embassies of Arctic countries, Russian and international experts on the issues related to indigenous peoples.

According to the UN, there are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world. They live on 20% of the world’s land and represent up to 5,000 distinct cultural identities. Even though they constitute a relative minority of the world’s population, they contribute the most to its cultural diversity.

Notes for editors:
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007.

The Declaration sets universal minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world. The Declaration covers both individual and collective rights, including the right of indigenous peoples to practise their cultural traditions and preserve their identity; the right to education, healthcare and employment; the right to use their language, and other rights. The Declaration prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all affairs that concern them and states that indigenous people have the right to preserve their unique identities and to define their own economic, social and cultural priorities. The Declaration also promotes harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been translated into the six official languages of the United Nations, i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, as well as 52 other languages. In Russia, which is home to 40 officially recognised indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, the Uilta-language translation of the Declaration is the first official translation of this document into an indigenous language.

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd.(“Sakhalin Energy”) is the operator of Sakhalin-2, one of the world’s largest integrated oil and gas projects, which has developed major infrastructure for hydrocarbon production, transportation and processing. The Company exports crude oil produced in the Sea of Okhotsk and LNG produced at Russia’s first LNG plant built by Sakhalin Energy in the south of Sakhalin. The Company’s shareholders are Gazprom (50% + 1 share), Royal Dutch Shell (27.5% - 1 share), Mitsui and Co. Ltd. (12.5%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%).

Sakhalin Energy is a leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Social and environmental programmes of the Company have been recognised by leading international and Russian experts.
In 2009, Sakhalin Energy joined the UN Global Compact, a strategic initiative to promote responsible civil practice and corporate responsibility of business. The Company is a member of the UN Global Compact Human Rights Working Group.

In 2011, Sakhalin Energy became and still remains the only Russian company chosen by the United Nations to join the new platform for Corporate Sustainability Leadership - Global Compact LEAD - established by the UN Global Compact to implement a range of higher-level actions in environmental, social and governance, as well as to set new CSR standards. Today’s Global Compact LEAD is a group of 56 companies from 24 countries, including the UK, Germany, Canada, China and the United States.

In 2012, one of the United Nation’s fundamental documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was translated into the Nivkh and Uilta languages with financial support from Sakhalin Energy.

For further details, please refer to Sakhalin Energy’s official website at

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is involved in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. OHCHR is focused on ensuring compliance with the internationally recognized principles governing human rights. To this end, OHCHR assists in ratification and implementation of international human rights treaties worldwide and promotes respect for the law. Among the OHCHR aims is removing obstacles to complete observance of human rights and prevention of human rights violations.

As the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, OHCHR leads global human rights efforts and embodies the global community's aspiration to attain universal ideals in the field of human rights. OHCHR exposes human rights violations regardless of where those occur and speaks out objectively in the face of such violations. The Office is a forum for identifying and developing responses to today's human rights challenges. OHCHR acts as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information and advocacy activities, while strengthening and mainstreaming human rights across the United Nations system.

OHCHR also supports the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council and the core treaty bodies set up for monitoring State Parties' compliance with international human rights treaties, and also promotes the right to development, coordinates United Nations human rights education and public information activities, and strengthens human rights across the United Nations system. OHCHR works to ensure the enforcement of universally recognized human rights norms, including through promoting both the universal ratification and implementation of the major human rights treaties and respect for the rule of law.

For further details, please refer to the official OHCHR website:

Yelena Alexeyevna Bibikova was born in 1940 in Goryachiye Klyuchi (alternatively named Bauri), a traditional Uilta camping ground. She has a university degree in language teaching. Ms. Bibikova co-authored the first book (an ABC Primer) in the Uilta language.

Irina Yakovlevna Fedyayeva was born in 1940 in the village of Val to an Uilta family. She co-authored the Orok-Russian and Russian-Orok dictionary and the first book (an ABC Primer) in the Uilta language.

The Uilta people (also known as the Oroks or Oroshens) are among Russia’s smallest ethnic minorities, indigenous inhabitants of Sakhalin Island. According to the 2012 census, their total number is 295 people. Their self-designation endonym is Uilta or Uil’ta (“the reindeer people”, from the root Ula “reindeer”). Their traditional occupations include hunting, fishing and reindeer herding.

The Uilta language is designated by UNESCO as an endangered language. There are only between thirty and forty people left capable of communicating in this language. Prior to the beginning of the 21st century, this language had no writing system.