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MRG urges the African Union to put in place positive measures to ensure that no one is left behind

28 October 2022

This statement on the human rights situation of indigenous communities and minorities in Africa was delivered by Samuel Ade Ndasi to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (73rd Ordinary Session) on 24 October 2022.

Thank you Honourable Chairperson of the African Commission, Honourable members of the Commission, Honourable representatives of States, and esteemed colleagues of international and national NGOs.

My name is Samuel Ade Ndasi and I thank you for the opportunity to make this statement on behalf of Minority Rights Group International (MRG), regarding the human rights of minority communities and indigenous peoples we work with in Africa. My statement focuses on violations of the rights of the Benet-Mosop indigenous community of Uganda; and climate change and the severe drought in East and Horn of Africa

On the Benet-Mosop of the Republic of Uganda

MRG welcomes the press release of 4 October 2022, issued by the Chairperson of the Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Communities and Minorities in Africa (WGIPM), Hon. Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, in which he expressed the Commission’s, and by extension, the WGIPM’s concerns about the violations orchestrated by agents of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority against the Benet-Mosop indigenous people of Uganda. MRG also welcomes the recommendations contained in the said press release and urges the Commission’s WGIPM to continue to monitor the situation and to follow up on its recommendations. MRG notes that despite the Commission’s Press Release of 4 October 2022, agents of the Government of Uganda’s Wild Life Authority, on 18 October 2022, raided dwellings of members of the Benet-Mosop community in the Mount Elgon region, burning down several houses and confiscated several dozens of life stock belonging to members of the Community.

On climate change and the severe drought in East and Horn of Africa

East and Horn of Africa are currently hard hit by drought not experienced in more than 40 years. The impact of the drought to the human and animal population is unimaginable. About 50 million people are affected; children and elderly people are faced with acute malnutrition which makes them vulnerable to  other diseases. Nearly all livelihoods are shattered – crops fail, animals die and human lives are lost due to hunger, malnutrition and diseases. Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda are the countries affected the most. Minorities and indigenous peoples in these countries disproportionately bear the brunt of the drought as they live mainly in remote arid and semi-arid areas and yet are extremely marginalized in the distribution of food aid, making them most vulnerable. There is urgent need for the African Union, the Commission, affiliated development agencies, and individual States affected to effectively respond to the drought and the general devastating impacts of climate change in Africa.

Minority Rights Group International, therefore, respectfully requests the Commission to:

  • Urge all States and non-state actors involved in mitigating the impact of the drought to recognise the additional vulnerability of minorities and indigenous peoples affected by the drought and climate change in accessing humanitarian aid, including drought and famine relief;
  • Urge States to put in place positive measures to ensure that barriers to access for marginalised communities are eliminated so that ‘no one is left behind’ in the distribution of drought and famine relief.

Thank you.