The Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa held its second bi-annual meeting in Arusha, The United Republic of Tanzania from 21 to 22 November 2012. During the meeting the Working Group was briefed by indigenous peoples rights activists on the situation of indigenous peoples in some African countries. It also considered some working documents, assessed its performance during the intersession, and planned for the next intersession.
The Chairperson and the Working Group also considered and accepted the resignation application tendered by one of the long serving members of the Working Group, Mr.Zephyrin Kalimba from Rwanda. He resigned as a result of his appointment as a Senator by the President of Rwanda. The Chairperson and the Working Group appreciated the work done by Mr. Kalimba and wished him well in his new endeavors. The Working Group decided to advertise the post to fill up the vacant position.
On 21 November 2012, the Working Group met with the Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Dr. Robert Eno, who received the delegation on behalf of the President of the Court, who had to travel few days before the meeting to attend to some urgent matters. The Working Group and the Registrar discussed possibilities of future collaboration between the Working Group and the Court in areas of common interest.
On 23 November 2012 the Working Group in collaboration with PINGOs Forum, its local partner in Tanzania, officially launched in Tanzania its promotional video film entitled “A Question of Justice: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa”. The launching brought together represntatives from various government offices including the Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Judge of the High Court of Arusha, members of the civil society, indigenous peoples representatives and other stakeholders.
The Chairperson of the Working Group, Commissioner Soyata Maiga made the keynote address followed by presentations on the Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights under the UN system and the African Commission by Advocate William Nysha, and on the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Tanzania by Mr. Edward Porokwa. The video film was also shown to participants, followed by discussions.