We, participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs at the 39th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,
Considering that a “Resolution on the rights of Minorities and Indigenous Groups” providing for the establishment of an Experts Working Group on Minority and Indigenous Peoples was adopted at the 28th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, held in Cotonou (Benin), in October 2000;
Noting with satisfaction the establishment of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the work accomplished by the latter, especially the drafting of a detailed report on Indigenous People;
Considering the report of the Experts Working Group of the African Commission on indigenous people published in 2005 which gives the genesis of the situation of indigenous peoples.
Noting with concern the upsurge in grave violations of the rights of the Indigenous People of Africa, especially in Niger, DRC, Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia and Nigeria ,
Considering the negative impact of the exploitation of natural resources and forests on the health and living conditions of the Indigenous Peoples,
Concerned at the failure to implement the right of indigenous people to education and health recognised by international legal instruments,
Noting with concern the absence of clear references to indigenous people in the Constitutions and National laws of most African countries with indigenous populations,
Concerned at the indigenous peoples’ lack of access to the political decision making bodies,
Considering that in most States indigenous people are not entitled to own land and are reduced to slavery by different producers (farmers, fishermen, hunters, and companies).
We request the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights to:
1. augment the human resources, means and mandate of the Working Group of the Commission on Indigenous Peoples to enable the latter implement resolutions on Indigenous people already adopted by the Commission,
2. urge Member States to create an environment conducive to the realisation of the rights of indigenous people by enacting national laws and legislation which take into account their rights, and domesticate international instruments for the protection of indigenous people.
3. urge Member States which have not yet done so to ratify ILO Convention 169 and all the other international legal instruments for the protection of indigenous people.
4. urge Member States to develop policies which cater for the participation of indigenous women in all socio-economic development programmes.
Done in Banjul, 8th May, 2006