As the scramble for Africa’s land continues – driven by the insatiable appetite to extract and profit from the Earth – this report brings forth the voice of custodian communities from six African countries. In a joint statement, to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) they emphasise how their customary governance systems operated since the colonisation of Africa, derived from their sacred natural sites and territories and following the laws of the Earth.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has the mandate and the capacity to lead its member countries towards the vision contained in its Charter, namely one in which precedence is given to indigenous African culture and customary governance systems over the colonial systems that dominated the continent for so long. The statement from African custodian communities is a Call to Action for the African Commission to develop policy and legal recognition for sacred natural sites and territories, and their customary governance systems.
The report provides context and analysis for the legislative response that is being sought through the African Commission. It commences with a reminder that the African Charter is committed to plural or multiple legal frameworks, and describes the developing legal jurisprudence within several African countries in favour of sacred natural sites and territories, with the African Charter related Endorois and Ogiek cases providing important guiding precedents.