The opening Ceremony was chaired by His Excellency, Adoum Gargoum, Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations in Charge of Relations with the Islamic World, in the presence of HE Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations in charge of Relations with the Commonwealth. The opening ceremony was also attended by other members of the government of Cameroon, members of the Diplomatic Corps, state delegates from the Central African region, members of the African Commission, international organisations and relevant organs of the African Union and representatives of National Human Rights Institutions from the Central African region, international and local NGOs, journalists, the academia and other institutions interested in indigenous issues in Africa were also in attendance.
Various issues related to the human rights of indigenous populations in Central Africa were discussed by State Delegates, National Human Rights Institutions and resource persons. The issues discussed include inter alia:
- The legal protection of the rights of indigenous populations in Central Africa;
- Poverty amongst indigenous populations and their situation with regards to health and education;
- The importance of land for the survival of indigenous populations; and
- Factors responsible for land dispossession.
- Member States are requested to pay attention to the findings and recommendations contained in the “Report of the African Commission’s Working Group of Experts on Indigenous Populations/Communities,” adopted at the 34 th Ordinary Session of the African Commission in November 2003.
- Member States are requested to find ways and means for the legal recognition and enforcement of the rights and special needs of these marginalized and vulnerable indigenous populations/communities.
- Member States are urged to include, in their periodic reports to the African Commission, the programmes and strategies put in place to enhance the human rights of indigenous populations/communities.
- Urge Member States to establish National Action Plans for the effective implementation of the 2 nd Decade on the rights of indigenous populations from 2005 - 2014 ;
- Urge Member States to consider ratifying the ILO Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples; Participants;
Urge Member States in Central Africa to enhance the capacity of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to be independent, and to establish in those countries where there do not already exist such institutions.
- Participants recommended that the African Commission undertakes sensitisation missions on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous populations to Member States of Central Africa.
- Urges the African Commission to accelerate its studies on the protection of human rights of indigenous populations in the constitutions on Member States
- National Human Rights Institutions in collaboration with Indigenous NGOs are requested to help their respective authorities for a better perception of indigenous issues.
- National Human Rights Institutions are urged to be more proactive in the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous populations/communities and issue reports and/or studies on the various discriminatory practices and violations suffered by the latter.
National Human Rights Institutions with Affiliate Status before the African Commission are urged to include, in their activity reports to the latter, information on the human rights situation of indigenous populations/communities in their respective countries.
- Local, regional and international NGOs are requested to continue their commitment in advocating for the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous populations/communities through increased partnership and dialogue with all stakeholders including governments and NHRIs.
- They are also urged to enhance their Networking capacities at the local, regional and international level with a view to achieve better recognition and visibility of indigenous populations/communities throughout Africa.
- NGOs with Observer Status before the African Commission are urged to include, in their activity reports to the latter, information on the human rights situation of indigenous populations/communities in their respective countries.
The participants further expressed profound appreciation to the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for organising the Seminar.
After a rich dialogue among all the participants and stakeholders represented, the following recommendations were adopted.
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