Resources

African Commission adopts Resolution on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Natural Resource Governance

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) adopted a Resolution on a Human-Based Approach to Natural Resources Governance at its 51st Ordinary Session held from 18 April to 2 May 2012, in Banjul, the Gambia. This resolution was adopted in the context of the Rio+20 Conference and calls on State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (African Charter) to respect human rights in all matters relating to natural resources governance.

African Commission: FPIC is essential for protected status on indigenous lands

At its 50th Session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) adopted a resolution condemning the recent decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe Lake Bogoria in Kenya on the World Heritage List.  The issue at stake was the almost complete lack of involvement of the Endorois (the indigenous owners of the territory) in the decision-making process. This is particularly problematic in light of the African Commission’s earlier decision on the case of Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group International on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v Kenya adopted at the 46th Ordinary Session held from 11–25 November 2009 in Banjul, The Gambia, and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in February 2010. This earlier decision and the recent resolution both emphasize that the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) must be adhered to in the lands and territories of indigenous peoples.  Failing to involve indigenous peoples in decision-making processes and failing to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent constitutes a violation of their right to development under Article 22 of the African Charter, and other international laws.

Indigenous peoples make powerful statements at African Commission session

Many statements from indigenous peoples organisations were made on the occasion of the 50th African Commission session held in Banjul in October 2011. As well as the implementation of the 2010 African Commission’s decision regarding the Endorois in Kenya, the situation of indigenous women in Burundi and Kenya were addressed. Burundi was also examined under the state reporting procedure, which raised issues pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Toolkit on Indigenous women’s rights and the African Human Rights System

A new publication entitled “Indigenous women’s rights and the African human rights system: a toolkit on mechanisms” was launched at the end of April 2011 during the session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia. The launch was officiated by Commissioner Soyata Maïga, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, who also contributed to the toolkit. It was elaborated in consultation with local, regional, and international partners who work with indigenous women and indigenous peoples’ organisations. The toolkit consists of a series of informative notes that review human rights standards pertaining to indigenous women in Africa and the different mechanisms available to promote and ensure the protection of these rights. It aims at providing NGOs and indigenous women's organisations in Africa with a helpful resource to guide their effective use of the various African human rights mechanisms. The toolkit is available in English and French online here.

Advocacy efforts lead to African Commission’s increased consideration of indigenous women’s rights

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.

Launch of toolkit on Indigenous women's rights in Africa

A new publication entitled “Indigenous women’s rights and the African human rights system: a toolkit on mechanisms” will be launched at the end of April 2011 during the session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia. The toolkit was elaborated in consultation with local, regional, and international partners who work with indigenous women and indigenous peoples’ organisations. It consists of a series of informative notes that review human rights standards pertaining to indigenous women in Africa and the different mechanisms available to promote and ensure the protection of these rights. The toolkit aims at providing NGOs and indigenous women's organisations in Africa with a helpful resource to guide their effective use of the various African human rights mechanisms. The toolkit will be made available online and the launch will be officiated by Commissioner Soyata Maïga, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, who also contributed to the toolkit.

Endorois decision on indigenous peoples’ rights informs high level regional meeting in Africa

The land rights of indigenous peoples and human rights of minority communities were discussed in Kampala, Uganda on 4th March 2011 during the first East Africa Regional Dialogue on Minority Community Rights. The event came as a result of the collaboration of many national and international organisations including the United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda, Forest Peoples Programme, Minority Rights Group International, Institute for Law & Environmental Governance, Uganda Land Alliance and Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment.  The dialogue was attended by representatives of indigenous peoples and minority communities from throughout the East African region as well as government and civil society organisations from Uganda and Kenya. Honoured guests included the Minister of State for Gender and Culture from Uganda and the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, former Commissioner of the African Commission Bahame Tom Nyanduga, representatives from the African Commission’s Working Group of Experts on Indigenous Populations/Communities, as well as indigenous leaders from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania.

Kenya - Protected area violates indigenous peoples' rights says African Commission

A 'landmark' decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has affirmed the right of the Endorois pastoralists of Kenya to own their customary lands and to 'free, prior and informed consent', rights which were violated when they were removed from a protected area. The decision invokes the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and draws on the findings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.