Advisory Opinion of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples



1. At its 1st Session held on the 29th June 2006 in Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). This Declaration is the result of a process of negotiation, which began in March 1995, under the auspices of the former United Nations Commission for Human Rights (UNHRC), during which an inter-session working group prepared the draft.

2. During its consideration by the 3rd Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the adoption of this resolution was brought before a certain number of countries as well as the group of African States which expressed a number of concerns which had been submitted to the State Parties in the form of an aide-memoire of the African Group dated 9th November 2006.

3. Having been seized of the issue, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AHSG) of the African Union (AU), meeting in Addis Ababa in January 2007, took a decision aimed at requesting the deferment of the consideration by the UNGA of the adoption of the said Declaration with a view to opening negotiations for making amendments, in order to take into consideration the fundamental preoccupations of the African countries, namely:
a) The definition of indigenous peoples;
b) The issue of self-determination;
c) The issue of land ownership and the exploitation of resources;
d) The establishment of distinct political and economic institutions
e) The issue of national and territorial integrity