The 39th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights took place in Banjul, The Gambia from May 11 – 25, 2006

The 39th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) was attended by a total of 419 people, representing 32 state parties, 19 national human rights institutions, 6 intergovernmental organisations and 128 African and international NGOs. IWGIA facilitated and supported the participation of 8 indigenous representatives.

NGOs with observer status have usually been able to present their statements under the agenda item on 'the human rights situation in Africa'. However, at this 39th session this procedure was suspended to ensure sufficient time for all agenda items. NGOs were instead requested to speak under their relevant theme within the agenda item on 'promotion activities'. The following organisations therefore made statements under the agenda item '8h) Presentation of the Report of the Chairperson of the Working Group on the Situation of Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa':

  • IPACC, South Africa
  • MBOSCUDA, Cameroon
  • MPIDO, Kenya
  • IWGIA

The periodic reports of the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya and Cameroon were examined during this session. During all three examinations the situation of indigenous peoples was raised.

Commissioner Bitaye presented the ACHPR Working Group's progress report outlining the activities carried out so far and the plans for the next period. The activities carried out included a mission to the Republic of Niger, preparations for a regional seminar and Commissioner Rezag Bara's participation as a resource person in UNITAR's training program on improving the capacities of indigenous peoples in conflict prevention and peace building in Rabat, Morocco. The extensive distribution of the Working Group's report has continued during the intersession period (for more information about the Report, click here) and the demand is still high. An information folder that summarises the Report of the Working Group as well as a database of organisations working with indigenous issues in Africa is being developed.

The Working Group intends to undertake the following activities during the forthcoming intersession:

- Country mission to Tanzania and Kenya

- information/research visits (to Algeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda)

- intensifying the distribution of the report (English/French version)

- publication and distribution of the Arabic version of the report

- sensitisation seminar in Central Africa - Cameroon

- completion and publication of the fact sheet

- start joint research with ILO and the University of Pretoria – initial workshop planned for 26-27 July 2006

- start the production of a electronic biannual bulletin

- develop plans for a film documentary

- produce radio programmes in Kenya and Tanzania

- update the database of organisations working on indigenous issues in Africa

- publish in book format all the adopted reports of the working group

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