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Indigenous Peoples' Rights

The Centre embarked on a project on indigenous peoples rights in selected African states, which culminated in a publication Overview Report of the Research Project by the International Labour Organization and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the constitutional and legislative protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in 24 African countries

 

Research and publications on Indigenous Peoples

The project on the promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights through promotion of the principles of the ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (ILO Convention No. 169) and promotion of the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) was a three year research initiative of the ILO and the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Communities/Populations in Africa (African Commission Working Group). The research seeks to examine the extent to which the legal framework of African countries impact on and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria acted as the implementing institution. A Project Steering Committee, consisting of a representative of the ILO, the African Commission Working Group, the Centre for Human Rights, and an independent expert from IWGIA, oversaw the project.

The main aims of the project are two-fold: The first aim is to contribute to the development of suitable policy and legal framework for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. The second aim is to build the capacity of relevant actors amongst indigenous peoples and government institutions.

Using the principles of ILO Convention No. 169 and the African Charter as a reference framework, the research determines the extent to which the rights of indigenous peoples are protected at the national level. The research involves inter alia a comprehensive review of relevant international and regional standards, constitutions, legislation, case law, administrative and state policy and directives in the country under study, with a view to determining the extent to which indigenous peoples’ rights are protected within its domestic legal framework. The need for undertaking this research is premised on that fact that the rights guaranteed in ILO Convention No. 169 and the African Charter protecting indigenous peoples will not be meaningful unless they are actually guaranteed and implemented in the domestic legal framework.

In September 2006, the ILO and African Commission jointly hosted a workshop to explore the research methodology and process to be adopted in a research project.  The workshop was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon and coincided with the hosting of a sensitisation workshop the previous week by the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa. Participants in the workshop included members of the ACHPR, the ILO, CHR (University of Pretoria), International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), indigenous experts, other experts and researchers on subjects related to indigenous peoples, and NGOs working with indigenous peoples. 

Two types of studies were undertaken: desk reviews and in-depth studies. The desk top research is aimed at providing as much available information as possible from existing documentation and other communications on the existing legal framework impacting on and protecting indigenous peoples. In-depth studies are based on the initial desk research, but further aims to provide a practical and detailed analysis of the level of implementation and enforcement of the existing legal and policy framework in indigenous communities and, to the extent possible, the impact it has on these communities. The researcher conducting the in-depth research therefore used the desk research report as a framework to identify issues that demand further clarity, corroboration, primary sourcing and, most importantly, assess the level of implementation and enforcement of the legal framework. The in-depth research aims to identify and assess the practical measures, if any, in the country under study aimed at enforcing the legal framework protecting indigenous peoples’ rights. To the extent possible, the research also explored the impact of legal provisions on indigenous communities.

Twenty-four countries are surveyed in the study, by way of a desk review. They are: Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.

In addition, in-depth studies were conducted in eight of these countries:  Algeria, Burundi, CAR, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger and South Africa.

Coordinators and Contributors

The project was coordinated at the Centre by Frans Viljoen and Waruguru Kaguongo. Researchers form various countries contributed to the study:

  • Algeria: B Lounes Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones en Algerie
  • Botswana: K Bojosi (with comments by Alice Mogwe incorporated), Botswana: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Burundi: Albert Kwokwo Barume, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Burundi
  • Burkina Faso: S Aboubacrine & A Hamady Sow, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon: Samuel Nguiffo, Nadine Mballa & P Bigombe Logo, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et adminstrative des peuples autochtones au Cameroun
  • Central African Republic (CAR): Albert Kwokwo Barume, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones en Republique Centrafricaine
  • Chad: F N Ngarhodjim, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Tchad
  • Congo: Albert Kwokwo Barume, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones en Republique du Congo
  • Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Albert Kwokwo Barume, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones en Republique Democratique du Congo
  • Egypt: S Dersso, Egypt: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Eritrea: S Mebrahtu (with comments by Zerisenay Habtezion incorporated), Eritrea: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Ethiopia: Mohammud Abdulahi (with comments by Melakou Tegegn incorporated), Ethiopia: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Gabon: Albert Kwokwo Barume, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Gabon
  • Kenya: G Wachira Mukundi, Kenya: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Mali: P Eba & S Aboubacrine, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Mali
  • Morocco: Mohammed Amrhar (with Divinia Gomez and Anne Schuit incorporated), Morocco: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Namibia: Andrew Chigovera (with comments by Clement Daniel incorporated), Namibia: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Niger: Oumarou Narey & Gandou Zakara, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones au Niger
  • Nigeria: B Fagbayibo (with comments by Chidi Oguamanam incorporated), Nigeria: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Rwanda: Z Kalimba, Protection constitutionnelle, legislative et administrative des peuples autochtones en Republique du Rwanda
  • Tanzania: W Olenasha & R Kapindu, Tanzania: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • South Africa: G Wachira Mukundi, South Africa: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Sudan: C Doebbler, Sudan: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
  • Uganda: C Mbazzira, Uganda: Constitutional, legislative and administrative provisions concerning indigenous peoples
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