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The Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Lands by Domestic Legislation on Climate Change Response Measures: Exploring Potentials in the Regional Human Rights System of Africa

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The need for protecting indigenous peoples’ lands as human rights in domestic legislation dealing with climate change response measures, that is, initiatives meant to address adverse effects of climate change, has been emphasised in a range of resolutions and decisions made under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC). Where domestic legislation on climate change response measures fails to protect adequately indigenous peoples’ lands, what potentials exist within the African human rights system? Using Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania as illustration, this article demonstrates how key legislation dealing with climate change response measures fails to protect indigenous peoples’ lands in Africa. It then explores potentials within the African regional human rights system for addressing the inadequate gap existing within domestic legislation on the protection of indigenous peoples’ lands in the context of climate change response measures in Africa.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Law, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa,;


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