Barney Pityana / WG Indigenous Populations/Communities


This is the final report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Africa. The Working Group prepared a Conceptual Framework Paper, which later formed the basis of the final report. The paper first addresses the thorny issue of definitions of indigenous people in Africa. The Working Group then resolved to settle for a socio-psychological description of  indigenous people, setting out broad criteria and affirming, as in the United Nations system, the principle of self-definition and recognition of self-identity of peoples. In presenting the situation of indigenous people in Africa, the Working Group then identifies themes within the African Charter and positions the situation of indigenous people. It analyses critically current practices, the cultural system, political practices and economic/development paradigms that indigenous people find oppressive. The report calls for a recognition of the unique character of indigenous people and to develop policies and practices in consultation with the people concerned and with due regard to the identity of the people concerned. The report then analyses the jurisprudence of the African Commission in its interpretation of the African Charter especially the group rights provisions of articles 19-24. Finally the Report draws conclusions and makes recommendations.