IPACC, conflict resolution and the establishment of a continent-wide mediation platform.
Indigenous Peoples across Africa have been subjected to many injustices, including land dispossession, genocide and denial of their fundamental human rights, during both the colonial and postcolonial periods.
In postcolonial times, one mechanism of redress for indigenous peoples has been to legally challenge instances of rights violations. However, such legal challenges typically end up being bogged down in intractable and expensive litigation that has the effect of escalating the hostility faced by indigenous peoples, and seldom resolves the issues at hand. A case in point is litigation between Botswana San organizations and the Botswana government over San rights in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
In the postcolonial period, intractable differences have also arisen within indigenous communities and organizations. Such differences are often exacerbated and exploited by outsiders to further weaken indigenous communities relative to the powerful interest groups that would exploit their lands and resources.
Mediation as an alternative, effective means of dispute-resolution
IPACC believes that mediated settlements are possible, and preferable, to lengthy and damaging litigation. IPACC is therefore preparing to build a continent-wide mediation platform geared to forge unity within indigenous communities, and to prepare these communities for mediation processes to settle disputes with private sector entities and state departments.
The Endorois and the Ogiek indigenous communities in Kenya and the Richtersveld Nama community in South Africa have solicited support to settle highly volatile disputes in their communities and to prepare them for official mediation processes to settle disputes with other local stakeholders and with powerful state entities and private sector interest groups such as mining companies.
The first phase of IPACC’s Mediation Project has been to assist the Endorois, Ogiek, and Richtersveld Nama communities via mediation workshops to forge community unity and to empower these communities to realise their rights with regard to land, resources and services in their interactions with private sector and state entities.
In 2019 IPACC convened introductory mediation workshops with the Enderois and Ogiek communities in Kenya and with the Nama community of South Africa’s Richtersveld World Heritage Site.
In 2020, IPACC plans to convene formal mediation training workshops for members of these indigenous communities, and for other indigenous communities such as the San of southern Africa.
These workshops will empower indigenous communities with the skills necessary to represent themselves in matters of conflict both within indigenous communities, and between indigenous communities, state departments, and the private sector.
IPACC is currently drafting fundraising proposals for the development of this mediation platform.