Biannual meeting of the Working Group held from 22 to 23 October 2011

    Biannual meeting of the Working Group held from 22 to 23 October 2011

    The Working Group held its bi-annual meeting from 22 to 23 October 2011, in Banjul, The Gambia. During such meeting the Working Group discussed and assessed its activities during the intersession and also deliberated upon ways forward. The Working Group also met with the Chairperson of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Populations (EMRIP), Mr. Vital Bambaze, and discussed on future collaboration and possible experience exchanges between the two mechanisms.

    The Report on the Information and Research Visit to Kenya was as well finalized which was later adopted by the African Commission. The report will be published on this page and in a book format soon.

    The Working Group and the African Commission expressed their concern over the inscription of Lake Bogoria as a World Heritage

    Following the inscription of Lake Bogoria National Reserve as a World Heritage by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th Session, on the recommendation of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the Endorois through their own representative institutions, the Working Group drafted a resolution to the attention of the African Commission, which adopted it as ‘Resolution on the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights in the context of the World Heritage Convention and the designation of Lake Bogoria as a World Heritage site’.

    The outgoing Chairperson of the Working Group, Commissioner Musa Ngary Bitaye, in his Intersession Activity Report also highlighted the plight of indigenous peoples in different parts of Africa whose livelihood is endangered by the inscription of their ancestral lands as World Heritage by the World Heritage Committee. Accordingly, he called upon UNESCO to review and revise current procedures and Operational Guidelines, in consultation and cooperation with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and indigenous peoples, in order to ensure that the implementation of the World Heritage Convention is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that indigenous peoples’ rights, and human rights generally, are respected, protected and fulfilled in World Heritage areas.

    The African Commission has appointed a new Chairperson and two Commissioner members to the Working Group

    Commissioner Musa Ngary Bitaye, who has been the Chairperson of the Working Group since November 2007, has passed on his Chairmanship to Commissioner Soyata Maiga, who has been appointed by the African Commission as the new Chairperson of the Working Group for the next two years at the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission.  Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor and Commissioner Pacifique Manirakiza have also been appointed as new members of the Working Group.

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      Date: 24 October 2011

      Special Mechanism: Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa

      States: Gambia

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