IPACC Congress in Mali finishes with commitment to human rights in Africa
Mr Coulibaly Fakoroba of the High Council of Territorial Communities of the Republic of Mali closed the five day IPACC congress on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Closing remarks were given by Tuareg host organisation, the newly elected leadership of the IPACC Executive Comittee, Mme Maiga of the African Comission on Human And Peoples Rights, and Mme Samia Slimane of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Delegates from fifteen African countries representing all six sub-regions on the continent studied the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa and the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination with regards to Women> The Conference delegates have prepared a plan of action and strategy for accelarating the implementation of the UN Declaration in Africa, in coordination with the other instruments and forums.
During the closing ceremony, Mme Zeinabou Walet Mohammed Ali of Tin Hinan read out the major recommendations of the conference which were welcomed by the Malian authorities. These include:
1. IPACC commits to the promotion of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at local level with indigenous peoples, with local and national governments, with national human rights commissions, with traditional leaders, with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and its expert Working Group;
2. IPACC will work closely with the African Comission to submit shadow reports on human rights, promote missions to African communities, and to lobby for the creation of the post of a Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa;
3. IPACC will work with its members to train indigenous leaders, human rights defenders, lawyers, judges and human rights officials in the legal and conceptual aspects of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the relevant Articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights;
4. IPACC commits to educating indigenous leaders and communities about the international standards with regards to women's rights and the elimination of gender based discrimination of rights violations. IPACC affirmed that if indigenous peoples are to benefit from international and regional standards and norms, then this must be made equally accessible to indigenous women. The Conference noted that culture and traditions are dynamic, valuable traditions need to be safe-guarded while harmful traditions, including female genital mutilation need to be stopped or transformed by the communities in compliance with the law and principles of equality;
5. IPACC commits to engaging with UN and African instruments to protect the rights of women. This includes CEDAW, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Maputo Protocol. IPACC will work with its mem ers to submit reports on rights violations and harmful practices experienced by indigenous women in Africa.
A full report of the conference will be available in French and English on the IPACC website.