We, participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs at the 40th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights,
Considering that a “Resolution on the rights of Indigenous Groups” providing for the establishment of an Experts Working Group on Indigenous Populations was adopted at the 28th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, held in Cotonou (Benin), in October 2000;
Encouraged by the establishment of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities 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 populations 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 and the failure of African governments to implement the rights of indigenous people, among others, to education and health recognized by international legal instruments;
Considering the negative impact of the exploitation of natural resources and forests on the health and living conditions of the Indigenous Peoples,
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 indigenous peoples’ lack of access to the political decision making bodies and that in most States indigenous people do not own land and are therefore exploited by different producers (farmers, fishermen, hunters, and companies).
We call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:
1. Augment the resources of the Working Group on Indigenous populations/communities;
2. Urge Member States which have not yet done so to ratify ILO Convention 169 and all the other international legal instruments such as the UN Declaration on Indigenous People for the protection of indigenous people;
3. Urge Member States to create an environment conducive to the realisation of the rights of indigenous people by adopting national laws, policies and encouraging best practices;
4. Urge Member States to develop policies which cater for the participation of indigenous women in all socio-economic development programmes.
5. Undertake and encourage the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities to undertake, regular country visits and to establish direct linkages with the affected communities;
6. Include issues of indigenous peoples’ in the guidelines for state party reports under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Done in Banjul, 14th November, 2006