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Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples in Africa

Young, Laura A.; Sing'Oei, Abraham Korir

In preparation for the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous community representatives from across Africa traveled to Nairobi for a conference in December 2012. The participants identified access to justice as a primary concern for Indigenous Peoples in Africa—whether political recognition and participation, criminal justice, or land rights, Indigenous representatives were clear that their communities struggle to access remedies for violations of their rights. This paper provides a broad overview of the situation for access to justice on the continent—from national legal frameworks, to judicial decisions, to regional human rights bodies, to transitional justice mechanisms. While African Indigenous Peoples’ access to justice concerns are similar to those of Indigenous Peoples around the globe, some specific issues emerge in the African context, such as how to understand the very existence of Indigenous Peoples on the continent. Ultimately, the paper makes clear that access to justice for Indigenous Peoples is more a political than legal issue, and that State political will to implement positive decisions in favor of Indigenous rights is one of the primary challenges for Indigenous Peoples.

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Also Published In

Indigenous Peoples’ Access To Justice, Including Truth And Reconciliation Processes
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Published Here
March 26, 2015


This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at