37th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, May 2005

The 37th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) was attended by a total of 300 people, representing 28 state parties, 6 national human rights institutions, 6 intergovernmental organisations and 110 African and international NGOs.

The issue of the rights of indigenous peoples is very visible on the agenda of the ACHPR by now and the increasing number of indigenous NGOs obtaining observer status contributes positively to this development. Under the agenda item of human rights situation in Africa, a number of organisations made statements on the grave human rights situation of indigenous peoples in Africa.

During the session, period reports of Egypt and Mauritania were examined and a few issues regarding indigenous/minority rights were raised. Commissioner Chigovera, chair of the ACHPR Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa presented the Working Group's progress report outlining the activities carried out so far and the plans for the next period. The activities carried out include the publication of the ACHPR report on indigenous populations in English and French and its official launch in Geneva during the 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Burundi research and information country visit (a report providing an analysis of the situation of the Batwa in Burundi and recommendations to the government of Burundi and to the ACHPR will be adopted by the Working Group at their next meeting before being presented to the ACHPR) and a meeting between the ACHPR Working Group, the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples where possibilities for future collaboration were discussed.

The activities planned for the next 6 months (May – November 2005) include a country visit to Botswana/Namibia in June/July 2005, a country visit to Kenya in September 2005, a regional sensitization seminar in Kenya in September 2005, research and information country visits to Libya/Tunisia, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Congo Brazzaville, and the publication of the report on indigenous populations in Arabic.

Another important event during the session was the launching of the Report of the ACHPR Working Group at the African Commission (for more information about the Report, click here).

For more information about the ACHPR you can visit ACHPR's website at: http://www.achpr.org

Visit also the website of The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies at: http://www.acdhrs.org

Progress report for the ACHPR Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa, from the period between 36th and 37th ordinary session of the ACHPR

Statement by MPIDO, Kenya

On the situation of indigenous peoples in Kenya – with special reference to the Maasai community

Statement by Forest Peoples Programme

On the situation of indigenous peoples in Burundi, Rwanda and Cameroon

Statement by IMPACT, Kenya

On the situation of indigenous peoples in Kenya

Statement by IPACC, South Africa

On the situation of indigenous peoples in South Africa

Statement by Ogiek Welfare Council

On the situation of indigenous peoples in Africa

Statement by IWGIA

On the situation of indigenous peoples in Africa