Sep 13/97: Samis protest Swedish Olympics bid

Saturday, September 13, 1997

For those who havn't heard we made one of the most major protests this year in Stockholm, Thursday August 21 outside the departement of Agriculture.

The protest was against the Swedish governemnt who stole the hunting rights from the native communitys five years ago and even though the departement of enviromental protection have deemed that this act is damaging, plus that the enviromental societys have protestested since, nothing have happened to solve this situation.

(Those who are on the IYN distributionlist might be interested to learn that there was a strong Saminuorra presence at this demonstration. Some of those were: Mats Peter Aastot.Ann-Katrin Blind. Tobias Jonsson. Ola Gustavsson. Magnus Kuhmunen. Carina Renhuvud.)

And Olov Johansson for the "Saminuorra" party, MP for Mijjen Geajnoe in the native parliament read the following statement:

Are Sweden a worthy host for the Olympics?

Sweden is a country who wishes to host the 2004 Olympic games. Sweden simultaneously doesn't follow international agreements for human rights and the indigenous peoples rights such as The Rio declaration. Representatives for the indigenous population in Sweden, the Samis ("Lapps") doesn't consider this country is a worthy candidate. Protests are held today outside the agricultural dpt (Jordbruksdepartementet) in Stockholm at 9.30 am - 15.00 pm.

The Olympic games will result in a lot of goodwill for the country which eventually will be chosen as the host. There's no doubt that there's a connection between international and domestic politics and the world of sports.

The organisers of several sport events have shown their dissatisfaction with dictatorships and regimes who support disparity such as South-Africa with their former apartheid.

The relationship between Sweden and its indigenous population could hardly be said to be in accord with the legislation in other countries and would rather be a question of shame for Sweden as a nation according to Olof Johansson, chairman of Glen Sami community and MP of the Sami parliament in Sweden.

If we for a moment view Sweden from an indigenous perspective, we cannot even tell if Sweden is a democracy or not. We Samis have no control of the land from which we derive our livelihood.

We are in the hands of capricious politicians and administrators, both locally and on the government level, states Lars-Anders Baer, chairman of SSR (National society of Swedish Samis).

One obvious example is the free fishing and small game hunt bill - on Sami territories - which was introduced in 1992, after preparatory work by the former rightwing government. The agricultural department thereafter made a set of bills to regulate the hunt, the preparatory work for those bills had in turn been made by a single Swedish consultant.

The local administrative boards for the three most northern regions in Sweden was appointed to administrate this hunting and fishing on Sami territories which by a penstroke changed the legislative status of the Samis land into the governments possession. An obvious violation of both the civic rights as well as international treaties.

We Samis are never part of the decision making process, not even when the issue is of utter importance for the Sami nation, adds Ingvar Aahren chairman of the Sami parliament in Sweden. And it is allowed to continue even after this government has signed the Rio Declaration as well as Agenda 21, both of which states that the government should act to encourage the indigenous population to participate in politics, creation of new laws and program for recourcemanagement and other processes which may affect them.

Added together we Samis feel extremely hesitant to recommend Sweden as a host for any Olympic game, states Mr Olof Johansson, and adds: We ask the IOC to consider our predicament when it is time to vote for this candidature.

This text was also distributed to foreign tourist during the demonstration.

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