The UN General Assembly during its 69th session, on 22-23 September this year, will convene a high-level plenary meeting - the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – to review the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) since its adoption in 2007, and to identify outstanding issues and actions pertaining to indigenous peoples and development.
This article seeks to touch base with the policy objectives of the European Union (EU)’s 2003 Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (‘FLEGT’) Action Plan, and highlight lessons learnt during Forest Peoples Programme’s EU-funded Strong Seat at the Table project. With partners Centre pour l'Environnement et le Développement (Centre for the Environment and for Development, CED), FERN and ClientEarth, the ‘Strong Seat’ project supported the legal capacity of civil society partners engaged in VPA-related legal reforms in West and Central Africa.
Please join FERN, Forest Peoples Programme, ClientEarth and the Centre for the Environment and for Development (CED) for a short presentation on the findings of "a strong seat at the table", an EU funded project to strengthen land tenure rights in Africa. It will include the launch of a new guide on securing land tenure reform in Africa titled "Securing land and resource rights in Africa: a guide to legal reform and best practice" and will be followed by Forest Drinks.
By Samuel Nnah Ndobe. The notion of indigenous people has sometimes been controversial in Africa. There are some opinions that consider all Africans as indigenous people liberated from colonial powers, while others simply stress that it is very difficult to determine who is indigenous in Africa.
A noção de indígena é geralmente algo polêmico na África. Existem opiniões que consideram todos os africanos como indígenas liberados dos poderes coloniais, enquanto outras simplesmente destacam que é muito difícil determinar quem é indígena na África. A criação, em 2001, do Grupo de Trabalho sobre as Populações/Comunidades Indígenas da Comissão Africana dos Direitos Humanos e dos Povos (ACHPR na sigla em inglês) e o relatório do Grupo, enviado à Comissão e aprovado em 2003, trouxeram uma nova perspectiva à esta questão. Nesse relatório, pela primeira vez, houve uma aceitação unânime da existência de povos indígenas na África, o que levou ao debate de como os países poderiam começar a integrar os direitos desses povos na esfera de direitos humanos. A maioria dos povos indígenas da África Central são povos caçadores-coletores, comumente conhecidos como “Pigmeus”, e povos pastores. Estes povos ainda sofrem discriminação por meio da desapropriação das suas terras e a destruição dos seus meios de vida, culturas e identidades, extrema pobreza, falta de acesso e participação nas decisões políticas e falta de acesso à educação e centros de saúde.
The "land grabbing" in Africa and elsewhere often triggers conflict, an underreported financial risk.
Samuel Nguiffo is the Secretary General of the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon. He is currently being sued by the government of Cameroon for tarnishing the state's reputation when he advocated against an oil palm plantation concession.
RE: Civil society inputs to the public consultation on the thematic report on indigenous peoples and business and human rights.
Click here to view the English webcast recording of the panel discussion on the rural development choices facing leaders of developing countries hosted by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)
Whenever someone remarks that a solution is being frustrated by ‘lack of political will’, I automatically ask myself: whose is the political will and what are the interests pushing for the opposite?
The purpose of this request is to bring to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD)'s attention the imminent enactment of a new Forest Law in Cameroon. The submitting organisations (Okani, CED and Forest Peoples Programme) highlight that both the process of reform and the contents of the proposed new law are racially discriminatory towards indigenous peoples.
Hosted by ‘Le Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement’ (CED), and co-organised by FPP with partners CED, FERN and ClientEarth, the African Community Rights Network (ACRN) regional four-day workshop on securing community rights to forest lands took place from 12-16 September in Douala, Cameroon. The workshop brought together around 50 representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs) and communities from seven countries in the Congo basin, Ghana and Liberia, as well as land tenure expert, Liz Alden Wily. The workshop was funded by the European Union and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
The workshop culminated in position statements to government, and to civil society and communities. The statements expressed the conclusions of participants that the central and urgent issue to be addressed was how community rights to customary lands and resources could be secured as property rights in national laws. The statements also set out the means for securing this formal protection and supporting community governance. This common vision was presented to officials from Cameroon’s government on the final morning of the workshop by Silas Siakor, director of the Liberian ‘Sustainable Development Institute’ (SDI), on behalf of the workshop.
The recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights is a recent development on the African continent. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has, over the last decade, given heightened attention to indigenous peoples’ rights, notably through the creation of its Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (WGIP) in 2000. This is mostly due to the efforts of civil society organisations which have documented the obstacles faced by indigenous peoples in the enjoyment of their individual and collective rights, and which have brought the many instances where these rights have been violated to the attention of the Commission.
A supplementary report submitted in connection with Cameroon’s 15th-19th periodic reports (CERD/C/CMR/19)
Nadine Mballa, CED, Cameroon
Why have you decided to attend the African Commission? I came here because FPP gave me the opportunity. I am working on the indigenous issue and the African Commission allows NGO representatives to speak on human rights issues. I am here to try to bring awareness of violations of indigenous peoples' rights in my country.
Submitted by Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Réseau Recherches Actions Concertées Pygmées (RACOPY) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)