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. The setting up in 2001 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) of a Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and the Group’s report submitted to and adopted by the ACHPR in 2003 have brought a new perspective to this problem. In this report for the first time there was a unanimous acceptance of the existence of indigenous peoples in Africa and this kicked off discussions on how countries could begin to integrate the rights of these peoples into the human rights mainstream. The indigenous peoples of Central Africa include the mostly hunter gatherer peoples commonly called the “Pygmies” and a number of pastoralist peoples. These peoples still suffer discrimination experienced through the dispossession of their land and destruction of their livelihoods, cultures and identities, extreme poverty, lack of access to and participation in political decision-making and lack of access to education and health facilities.