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A Free Toolkit on Indigenous Women’s Rights in Africa

Ana Isabel Paraguay
Posted October 1, 2021 from Brazil
Expires on December 30, 2022
Free Toolkit on Indigenous Women’s Rights in Africa cover
Free Toolkit on Indigenous Women’s Rights in Africa cover

Forest Peoples Programme has created this toolkit to help indigenous women in Africa to better understand the African human rights system and how to use it effectively to secure their rights.

The toolkit has been created in order to introduce indigenous women, and the organisations which represent them, to the African system of human and peoples' rights. It highlights the different routes available to ensuring that the rights of indigenous women are valued and taken into account by the African Commission.

Indigenous women form one of the most vulnerable groups on the African continent. They face multiple forms of discrimination associated especially with their indigenous identity, their gender, culture, religion and language. This multiple, or intersectional, discrimination is a significant obstacle to the ability of indigenous women to exercise their rights. As such, it limits their access to education, healthcare and justice along with their participation in political and decision-making processes.

Throughout Africa, indigenous women are exposed to physical, psychological and sexual violence. They live in precarious conditions and, indeed, in extreme poverty. The situation of indigenous women is worrying and we must take action.

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has been working on the question of indigenous peoples since 1999.

The Commission recognises the specific obstacles which indigenous peoples face in gaining recognition, exercising and enjoying their rights. The Commission has established a Working Group on Indigenous Populations / Communities.

Part of its mandate is to formulate recommendations and proposals for measures and activities designed to prevent and remedy violations of the freedoms and fundamental rights of indigenous peoples / communities.

This demonstrates the Commission's willingness to give special attention to this question. However, despite this, to date, the Commission has given very little attention to the question of the rights of indigenous women as women belonging to a specific group.

Conscious of the difficulties inherent in interpreting and applying the concept of "indigenous peoples", and the lack of general consensus on the definition, the Commission has identified a set of characteristics to enable the identification of indigenous peoples in Africa.

This was adopted in the Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations / Communities, published in 2005.

Since then, the Commission has repeatedly called on the African states to recognise the existence of indigenous peoples in their territories and to harmonise their national laws with the provisions of the African Charter and other applicable international standards, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous women's rights are human rights. Protection of their rights within the communities to which they belong is based on national laws and on the African system of human and people's rights. It follows that indigenous women can only enjoy their human rights fully when the collective rights of their communities are respected. Thus, respect for the rights of indigenous women comprises an individual and a collective dimension which must be taken into account.

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Comments 2

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Ana Isabel Paraguay
Oct 05
Oct 05

Dear All:
Feel free to share here your comments on this document and on this subject as well.
Many thanks in advance.
Instead of copying this posting in order to share it, please forward the link of this page. Hence more people will get to know World Pulse, this website and/or its Resource section.
Best regards,
Ana Isabel

Jill Langhus
Oct 04
Oct 04

This is great! Thanks for sharing, Ana!