Ethnic and racial and indigenous groups

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African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
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Ethnic and racial and indigenous groups
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The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021:

Recalling Its mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter); 

Recalling its Resolution ACHPR/Res.51 (XXVIII) 2000 adopted during its 28th Ordinary Session which established a Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (the Working Group), with a view to promote and protect the rights of indigenous populations/communities on the continent; 

Taking into consideration Articles 21 and 22 of the African Charter which guarantees the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources, and the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind;

Bearing in mind the Report of the Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa that was adopted by the Commission in 2003 at its 28th ordinary Session, and which amongst others, recognizes that the protection of rights to land and natural resources is fundamental for the survival of indigenous populations/communities in Africa;

Noting increasing rural poverty across the world including the continent, loss of wildlife and habitat, lack of inclusion of communities in decision making and lack of respect for the specific rights of indigenous and local peoples in Africa;

Concerned that the rapid changes facing Africa in terms of growing poverty and inequality, impacts of climate change, and increasing land transformation have the potential to destabilize economies of the continent;

Recognizing the role of indigenous populations & local communities in managing wildlife resources on their land;

Aware that indigenous communities are the front line of defense in protecting natural resources and combatting illegal wildlife trade;

Acknowledging that a key component of Africa’s economic potential lies in its biodiversity and wildlife economy, and the use of Community Based Resource Management, a community conservation effort, offers a unique competitive advantage for fighting poverty and building resilient indigenous and local communities;

Recognizing and respecting the right of participation, governance and use of natural resources by indigenous populations and local communities as share-holders and not mere stakeholders;

The Commission:

  1. Calls on African States to recognize the rights of indigenous populations & communities  over the conservation, control, management and sustainable use of their natural resources including wildlife;
  2. Urges African States to take the necessary measures to strengthen community governance and institutions;
  3. Strongly encourages Governments, indigenous and local populations, intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and academic institutions to support the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africain building and enhancing local capacity of communities to govern and manage and sustainably use and benefit from their natural resources;
  4. Tasks the Working Group, through the Commission, in  supporting Indigenous communities and minorities with respect to their rights to natural resources in the territories that they live;
  5. Encourages States to adhere to the Commission’s State Reporting Guidelines on Article 21 and 24 of the Charter relating to Extractive Industries, Human Rights and the Environment.

 

Done virtually, on 5 December 2021

 

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Mary Falconer
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African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
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Executive action limiting right of free association

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission), meeting at its 63rd Ordinary Session held from 23 October to 13 November 2018 in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia; 

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Considering the provisions of the African Charter, in particular Article 13(1) on the right of every citizen to participate freely in the government of his country;

Considering its Resolution ACHPR/Res.272 (LV) 14 on elections in Africa;

Recalling its Resolution ACHPR/Res. 395 (LXII) 18 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Cameroon;

Concerned by the human rights violations, in particular the excessive restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, the prohibition of peaceful demonstration during the electoral process which was marked by several cases of arrest and unlawful detention;

Deeply concerned by the continuous deterioration of the human rights situation in the country in general and in particular in the English-speaking North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon;

Deeply concerned by the increasing insecurity, recurrent enforced disappearances, summary and extrajudicial executions, abductions and intimidation; 

Concerned by the police repression, marked by prohibition from demonstration by opposition political parties, arbitrary arrests and the violation of other human rights following several cases of disputing of the results after the recent presidential election of 7 October 2018; 

Emphasising the importance of an inclusive political participation of all sectors of the Cameroonian society towards restoring stability throughout the national territory;

Concerned by the continuous loss of lives;

The Commission:

1.  Welcomes the release of the 79 students and teachers who were abducted on 5 November 2018 from their school in the North-West Region of Cameroon, and calls upon the Government to ensure their protection and that of all schools throughout the national territory; 

2.  Strongly condemns the various human rights violations committed in the country, and in particular during the electoral process;

3.  Calls upon the African Union to take measures towards putting an end to the ongoing serious human rights violations in the country;

4.  Calls upon the Cameroonian authorities to:

· Increase efforts towards finding a speedy solution to the Anglophone crisis and restoring stability, peace and security;

· take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the population;

· ensure democratic space for civil society and political opposition actors, journalists, lawyers, and pro-democracy movement activists;

· promote the collective interest of citizens by preserving the ideals of peace, justice, equity and good governance as provided for in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance ratified by Cameroon;

· authorise the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to undertake a fact-finding mission.

Done in Banjul, Republic of  The  Gambia, on 13 November 2018

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Cultural life
Ethnic and racial and indigenous groups
Equality and non-discrimination
Participate in government
Disposal of wealth and natural resources
Self-determination
Assembly
Association

 

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission), meeting at its 62nd Ordinary Session held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Recalling further its decision in Communication 266/07 - Kelvin Mgwanga Ngume v. Cameroon in which the Commission made recommendations towards the resolution of the Anglophone crisis, including the abolition of all discriminatory practices against people of the North-West and South-West of Cameroon, and the engagement in constructive dialogue in order to resolve the Constitutional issues, as well as grievances that could threaten national unity;

Bearing in mind its Press Release of 29 January 2018 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Cameroon, in which it called for an end to the use of force against unarmed civilians, respect for the right to freedom of expression and information, freedom of association and assembly, and the right to liberty and security of the person enshrined in the Charter, as well as the initiation of constructive dialogue towards putting an end to the suffering of the population;

Concerned about the continuous deterioration of the human rights situation in Cameroon, as well as the socio-economic situation,  since October 2016 following brutal crackdowns on peaceful protests by lawyers, teachers and members of civil society of the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon who called for the preservation of the Anglophone legal and educational systems in their regions, an end to marginalisation, and for better management of the regions by the Government of Cameroon in terms of development and infrastructure;

Deeply concerned about allegations of cases of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention under deplorable conditions, prohibition of peaceful demonstrations and constant insecurity; leading to the displacement of a significant number of Anglophone Cameroonians to Nigeria and thousands of internally displaced persons since the beginning of the crisis without means of subsistence and access to basic necessities;

Emphasising that the right to participate in the government of one’s country (Article 13), to dispose of and to benefit from the wealth and natural resources (Article 21), as well as the right to education (Article17), peace and security (Article 23) are guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Cameroon is a party;

Recalling also that the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is guaranteed under Article 11 of the African Charter, and that all Cameroonian citizens have to be treated equally without any discrimination (Article 2 of the African Charter);

Deploring the deterioration of the conflict following protests in the English-speaking regions that are now calling for secession from Cameroon;

Regretting the loss of many lives among the population and the armed forces;

The Commission:

  1.  Condemns the various human rights violations committed in the country since October 2016;
  2. Condemns the continuous repression against human rights defenders;
  3. Requests that impartial and independent investigations be conducted towards identifying the perpetrators of violations and bringing them to justice;
  4. Calls upon the various parties to prioritise national harmony and unity, and to refrain from any action that may undermine the main pillars of the Cameroonian society; 
  5. Calls upon all the parties to engage in dialogue towards saving lives and restoring calm, security and peace as soon as possible;
  6. Decides to undertake a general human rights promotion mission to the Republic of Cameroon, in collaboration with the government authorities. 

Adopted at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018

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Cultural life
Ethnic and racial and indigenous groups
Disposal of wealth and natural resources

 

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission), meeting at its 23rd Extraordinary Session held from 13 to 22 February 2018 in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter); 

Recalling further the relevant provisions of the African Charter, in particular Articles 21 and 22 which recognize the right of all peoples to their economic, social and cultural development, and the right to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources, as well as the duty of States to ensure the exercise of these rights;

Bearing in mind its Resolutions, in particular Resolution ACHPR/Res.334 (EXT.OS/XIX) 16 on indigenous populations/communities in Africa calling on States to halt the forced eviction of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands;  

Recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res.367 (LX) 17 on the Niamey Declaration on Ensuring the Upholding of the African Charter in the Extractive Industries Sector calling on States Parties to ensure that human rights, environmental and labour standards are duly respected and environmental and social impacts are mitigated;

Concerned about the events affecting the rights of the Sengwer community in the Embobut Forest, in western Kenya, particularly the repeated attacks and forced eviction from their traditional lands by agents of the Kenya Forest Service, in the context of implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Project, a European Union-funded water management project;

Deeply concerned by allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred during the recent eviction starting in December 2017, including gun wounds sustained by some community members, the burning of property and killing of their livestock;

Concerned also by the allegations that the project is being implemented without consultation with the Sengwer Community and without an environment and human rights impact assessment;

The Commission:

Condemns the human rights violations against the Sengwer community;

Urges the Government of the Republic of Kenya to:

 i.    Recognise and respect the rights of the Sengwer community;

 ii.  Put an immediate end to the forced eviction of the affected communities, particularly the Sengwer community;

 iii. Ensure that the affected communities are fully consulted and relevant environmental and human rights assessment are conducted prior to the implementation of projects;

 iv.   Facilitate the mapping of Sengwer territories of their ancestral lands and territories, and take the necessary measures to guarantee safe and secure access to and use by the Sengwer community of their ancestral lands; 

 v.   Conduct an impartial and independent investigation into the human rights violations committed against the Sengwer community within their various territories and bring the perpetrators to justice;

 vi.  Ratify the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention).

Calls upon all actors including development partners supporting projects to ensure that projects are designed and implemented with due respect to the rights of the affected communities provided for under the African Charter and other relevant regional and international standards.

 

Done in Banjul, The Gambia, on 22 February 2018