This submission has been jointly prepared by the civic organisation “Revival of Kazas and the Shor people”, representing displaced villagers of Kazas in Kemerovo oblast, Russian Federation, together with IWGIA, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC, based in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology, Cologne, Germany. It draws attention to the situation of the former inhabitants of the village of Kazas, Myski municipal district of Kemerovo Oblast. Kazas is a now defunct hamlet of indigenous Shor people, wholly surrounded by open cast mining sites.1 In the years before its final destruction, it had approximately 80 inhabitants. Before the arrival of mining, the number of residents was significantly higher.
The village has suffered a process of systematic destruction driven by mining interests, from which the local authorities have failed to protect. The villagers are now displaced, some are reported homeless. No adequate substitute land has been offered and no compensation provided that would enable the former inhabitants to rebuild their livelihood. Their main place of worship, the sacred mountain of Karagai-Nash, has been severely violated by mining. Access to the cemetery where their ancestors are buried is greatly impeded.
As described in detail in this submission, the process leading up to the village’s all-out destruction included:
- the abolition of Shor self-administration and the transfer of most of their ancestral land to a neighbouring municipality, excluding the Shor from decision-making on these territories,
- the ever closer encroachment of mining operations towards the boundaries of the village, making environmental conditions for the residents unbearable,
- the destruction of their ancestral territories and natural means of existence, including hunting grounds, pasture, livestock, fishing grounds and others,
- pressure from the administration to resettle without a resettlement plan or compensation,
- dismantling of the villagers’ public infrastructure and services by the authorities,
- armed checkpoints disrupting freedom of movement and
- a series of arson attacks in which several houses of villagers unwilling to sell their properties were destroyed.