Hearings & Briefings

Indigenous Peoples in Africa

Hearing Thursday, May 12, 2011 10 AM Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building

This hearing will take place at 10 AM on 5/12/2011, in Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the media and the interested public.

Thursday, May 12, 2011
10 AM
Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on indigenous peoples in Africa. According to the World Bank, indigenous peoples are among the world’s poorest. Within their countries, they show disproportionately high levels of poverty, with even less access to education, health care and employment than other segments of the population. Their plight is especially dire in Africa, where an estimated 17 million, out of a total of 22 million indigenous peoples, are considered poor. Discrimination, the lack of political participation, denial of justice and forced displacement further perpetuates their marginalization.

In this context it is important that indigenous communities and their representatives become active players in the debates that concern them. The lack of adequate legal protections makes them more vulnerable to continuing abuses. While the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an important step forward in recognizing the existence of their human rights, the impetus ultimately rests with the state to extend the protections enshrined in the declaration. The adoption of a new constitution in 2010 in Kenya was unprecedented because it explicitly recognizes the country’s indigenous groups and anchors their rights.

This hearing will address the human rights situation of indigenous peoples on the African continent, with a particular focus on Kenya and Ethiopia. It will explore ways to engage indigenous peoples more directly and identify what particular roles, given their specific cultures, traditions and expertise they can play with respect to economic development.

Panel I:

Sharon Cromer, senior deputy assistant administrator for sub-Saharan Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development

Panel II:

Rebecca Adamson, president and founder of First Peoples Worldwide
Phillemon Nakali Loyelei, representative, Nyangatom Tribe (Ethiopia)
Lavinia Currier, president, Sacharuna Foundation

If you have any questions, please contact Lars de Gier (Rep. McGovern) or Gary Oba (Rep. Wolf) at 202-225-3599.

Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Contact the Commission

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
4150 O'Neill Federal Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515
United States of America

Phone: +1 (202) 225-3599
Fax: +1 (202) 226-5887


The Commission seeks to make its events, meetings and hearings accessible to persons with disabilities.

If you are in need of special accommodations, please call (202) 225-3599 at least four business days in advance or whenever practicable.

Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Commission materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.) may be directed to the Commission.

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