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CHRAGG statement on IPs 10th anniversary

Commission for Human Rights & Good Governance
Plot No. 8, Luthuli Street
Tel.: +255 22 2135747/8; 2137125; 2135222
Fax: +255 22 2111281
Website: www.chragg.go.tz

September 13, 2017

Statement by CHRAGG at the occasion of commemorating 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, 13th September, 2017

Today the 13th of September, 2017 the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) joins human rights stakeholders all over the world to celebrate the 10th anniversary of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On 13th September 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which is the most comprehensive international document on the recognition and protection of rights of indigenous peoples globally. It provides a framework for governments and societies all over the world to ensure respect, protection and promotion of human rights of indigenous peoples as well as ensuring equality and equity in the enjoyment of the rights promulgated in the international and regional human rights instruments

This year, the world is commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the UNDRIP. The United Nations as well as governments all over the world are required to undertake an assessment of the milestones achieved in recognizing, promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples as well as challenges experienced in implementing the declaration.
Over the last decade, there have been challenges regarding the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and implementation of related policies on the ground by governments around the world including Tanzania. As a result, indigenous peoples continue to face exclusion and marginalization as far as the enjoyment of their basic rights is concerned.

Position of the Tanzania government on recognition of the indigenous peoples’ rights   
Tanzania is among the 144 states which voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on 13th September 2007. The declaration calls for “affirmative and concerted measures to address the disadvantaged conditions of indigenous peoples in accordance with the human rights principles elaborated upon this instrument”.

Despite the fact that Tanzania voted in favour of the Declaration, it does not recognize the existence of “indigenous peoples” in the country on the grounds that “All Tanzanians of African origin are indigenous” to this country. There are communities in Tanzania, namely Hadzabe and Akiye, who are hunter gatherers, and Barbaig or Datoga and Maasai who are pastoralists, which meet the UN criteria of indigenous peoples, and the government acknowledges their existence. These groups are considered to be indigenous communities by the African Commission on Human and Peoples (ACHPR).

In Tanzania, there is no specific national policy or legislation for the recognition and existence of indigenous peoples as well as implementation of their rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP.

However, the government of the United Republic of Tanzania ratified and reports on the International Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the United Nations Frame Work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At national level, the government has formulated the Draft TASAF III Indigenous Peoples Policy Framework (IPPF) which recognizes the existence of indigenous peoples as well as implementation of project on Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

In other words, the government indirectly recognizes the existence and marginalization of these communities.

Challenges experienced by indigenous peoples in Tanzania
Since the adoption of the UNDRIP 10 years ago, indigenous peoples in Tanzania have continued to face the following challenges:
§  Absence of legislation recognizing the indigenous peoples in Tanzania.

§  Lack of representation in decision-making bodies at all levels.

§  Poor provision of social services such as access to clean and safe water, poor provision of health services and education facilities in indigenous people’s areas.

§  Poor infrastructure such as roads, grazing land, communication systems, hunting and gathering areas.

§  Lack of effective implementation of strategies that aim to mitigate the effect of climate change in areas of habitual residence for indigenous communities.

§  Lack of recognition of their traditional lands, and

§  Land alienation as a result of economic activities.

Therefore, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance recommends that the government:
§  Enact a specific law recognizing indigenous peoples and their rights as enshrined in regional and international human rights instruments.

§  Ratifies the ILO Convention No. 169 and domesticate its provisions.

§  Ensures an equitable sharing of resources such as land and other natural resources found in the indigenous community’s areas.

§  Involves indigenous peoples in planning and decision making on issues that affect their lives.

§  Holds consultation with indigenous communities whenever implementing development projects so as to obtain their free, prior, and informed consent.

Issued by:

Bahame Tom Nyanduga


September 13, 2017

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