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.
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.
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.