Marking the national day of the Sami people, the CMI will host a seminar addressing the issue of indigenous people's rights, but from an African perspective.

State and private property rights coexist and regularly clash with collective forms of ownership based in traditional legal norms. In this competition for land, indigenous people are often marginalised. Their way of life, culture and identity is intimately related to their ancestral land. This is recognized in international law, giving rise to special rights.

Still, as examples from Tanzania show, it may be difficult to claim such rights in the domestic legal system where indigenous groups' traditional use of the land, typically as hunter-gatherers or pastoralists, requiring large tracts of often valuable land, are not seen to give rise to property rights.

Chris Maina Peter, Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, is currently a visiting professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund.

Comments by:

Thorvald Gran, Associate Professor, Department of Administration and Organisation Theory, University of Bergen

Siri Lange (CMI) Senior Researcher

Chris Maina Peter: Besides being a well respected researcher and teacher Prof. Peter is a well known human rights advocate and activist, championing the rights of the marginalized through legal advice and pro bono litigation. He also served as Defence Counsel for indigent suspects and accused persons at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Prof. Peter is founding member and serving board member of Kituo Cha Katiba, a regional non-governmental organisation established in 1997 to promote constitutionalism, good governance and democratic development in Eastern Africa. He is also the Chairperson of the Foundation for Civil Society.

Prof. Peter's publications include:

Zanzibar and the Union Question (with H Othman, Zanzibar Legal Services Centre 2006);

Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in Tanzania ( with I. Juma, Michigan State Univ Press 1998);

In search of freedom and prosperity: constitutional reform in East Africa (with K. Kibwana and J. Oloka-Onyango, Claripress, 1996); "Incarcerating the Innocent: Preventive Detention in Tanzania" Human Rights Quarterly 19 (1)1997;

Human Rights in Africa A Comparative Study of the African Human and People's Rights Charter and the New Tanzanian Bill of Rights (Greenwood Press, 1990)