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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release Regional Workshop on the “Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples”


15 to 16 December 2015, Yaoundé, Cameroon

1.     The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) through its Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (the Working Group), organized from 15 to 16 December 2015 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, a Regional Workshop on the “Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (the Outcome Document)”, in collaboration with the Association for the Social and Cultural Development of the Mbororo (MBOSCUDA).

 

2.     The workshop was attended by 48 participants:

-          The Working Group, represented by its Chairperson Ms. Soyata Maiga and the following members: Commissioner Jamesina E. L. King, Dr. Naomi Kipuri, Dr. Barume Albert and Ms. Hawe Bouba, assisted by Mr. Samuel Tilahun and Ms. Anita Bagona;

-          The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz;

-          Representatives of the Government of Cameroon including the ministries of External Affairs, Justice, Social Affairs, Employment and Vocational Training and Secondary Education;

-          National Assembly members;

-          The Representative of the General Directorate of State Security in Cameroon;

-          The National Chairperson and members of MBOSCUDA;

-          Media professionals;

-          Representatives of national human rights institutions and civil society organizations working to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples in the following countries:

ü  Burundi

ü  Cameroon

ü  Congo

ü  Democratic Republic of Congo

ü  Kenya

ü  Uganda

ü  Tanzania

ü  Central African Republic

 

3.     The opening ceremony was attended by several high-ranking officials.  Speeches were delivered by the National Chairperson of MBOSCUDA, Mr. Jaji Manu Gidado, the Vice-Chairperson of the African Commission and Working Group Chairperson, Maitre Soyata Maiga, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Ambassador Guillaume NSEKE representing the Ministry of External Affairs of Cameroon who declared open the workshop.

 

4.     The workshop aimed to inform and raise awareness among participants on the contents of the Outcome Document, the cornerstone for implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples (the Declaration) and other relevant international legal instruments; encourage its ownership for a wider dissemination in the various countries; and initiate dialogue between the different stakeholders for the operationalization of the Outcome Document at the national and local levels.

 

5.     Several themes were extensively discussed, including:

 

-          The Outcome Document and its relationship with the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 2013 Agenda for sustainable development;

-          Commitments made by African States under the UN Declaration and the rights of indigenous peoples guaranteed by ILO Convention No. 169;

-          Sustainable development in the context of the Outcome Document;

-          Protection of the rights of indigenous women and children through the Outcome Document;

-          Some examples of best practices from African States in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous populations.

 

6.     Presentations were followed by fruitful discussions during which the relevance of the Outcome Document was reaffirmed in terms of immediate actions to be conducted in favour of beneficiary populations as well as capacity-building for NGOs and other stakeholders involved. The mobilization of adequate domestic and external resources for this purpose was also discussed.  

 

7.     Working groups were formed to discuss the identification of stakeholders as well as their roles and responsibilities in implementing the Outcome Document in their respective countries; consolidation of advocacy efforts for the ratification of ILO Convention No. 169 and other relevant international instruments; and monitoring the implementation of the Outcome Document and other instruments on the protection of the rights of indigenous populations by civil society and all other stakeholders.

 

8.     The following recommendations were made at the conclusion of this Regional Workshop:

 

 To Governments:

·         Ratify relevant international and regional instruments, including ILO Convention No. 169;

·         Constitutionally recognize the existence of indigenous populations and protect their cultures, traditions, languages, beliefs and lifestyle;

·         Adopt a law on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous populations;

·         Identify all laws which discriminate against indigenous populations and ensure their harmonization with international instruments;

·         Adopt a national action plan for the implementation of the Outcome Document and the Declaration; 

·         Establish a mechanism to monitor and evaluate implementation of the Outcome Document;

·         Guarantee the right to employment as well as the participation and representation of indigenous populations in decision-making bodies at all levels through introduction of a quota or co-optation system, among other alternatives;

·         Respect the right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous populations on projects and programmes which have an impact on their lives;

·         Adopt national policies and programmes for the sustainable development of indigenous populations;

·         Ensure equal opportunity and implement special measures to combat marginalization and discrimination against indigenous populations;

·         Guarantee the rights of indigenous women and children protecting them against various forms of discrimination, violence and harmful practices;

·         Organize mobile court hearings to guarantee the right of access to judicial public services for indigenous populations;

·         Promote greater access for indigenous children to education, in particular by awarding scholarships and other incentive measures;

·         Establish a school system adapted to the needs and lifestyle of indigenous populations;

·         Translate into national and indigenous languages and disseminate the relevant international and regional instruments on the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and train legal practitioners on the said instruments;

·         Organize awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of indigenous populations targeting other segments of society.

 

To the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:

·         Work in close collaboration with States, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and indigenous populations with a view to providing them with the necessary support for the full realization of the rights of indigenous populations, particularly in 2016 declared Year of human rights with special focus on the rights of women;

·         Strengthen research and data collection activities on indigenous populations.

 

To national human rights institutions and civil society organizations:

·         Establish a monitoring and evaluation framework for implementation of the Declaration and Outcome Document by Governments;

·         Implement capacity-building programmes and raise awareness on the Outcome Document and the Declaration among indigenous populations and other stakeholders working to protect the rights of indigenous peoples;

·         Strengthen advocacy actions for the ratification of ILO Convention No. 169;

·         Strengthen collaboration and working relations with UN mechanisms and the Working Group with the aim of promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous populations, especially through sharing of reports on their activities and on the situation of indigenous populations’ rights.

 

To United Nations agencies and other development partners:

·         Support and strengthen the capacities of organizations of indigenous peoples and civil society working on indigenous populations’ rights;

·         Mobilize sufficient resources for the adoption and implementation by States of action plans, programmes and policies to promote and protect the rights of indigenous populations.

 

Done in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 16 December 2015