Congo : promote the rights of indigenous Pygmy population
- 24 April 2017
In 2010, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous people described the economic and social situation of the Pygmy population in the Congo (Brazzaville) as "extremely unfavourable" and worried about the "marginalisation they suffer compared to the rest of the Congolese population, in particular in their work conditions, housing, education and health ; access to land and natural resources ; civil recognition by the State and participation in public life".
In 2011, the Republic of Congo became a pioneer in Central Africa after adopting the first law specifically about the protection of the indigenous Pygmy population (Law 05-2011). In 2013, It reaffirmed this commitment during the Universal Periodic Exam of the Congo before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. The Congolese State expressed their wish to engage the ratification process of the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation on indigenous population. Some years after that, the political will hardly translates in facts. The implementing legislation of the Law 05-2011 have not yet been signed and discrimination against Pygmy populations persist. The latter, are still victims of exploitation, spoliations, denial of rights and are never consulted on decisions affecting their communities in accordance with the principle of free, prior and informed consent (CLIP).
The Congolese Observatory on Human Rights (OCDH), long-time fighter for the promotion and protection of the right of indigenous populations, is alarmed at these results. It got in contact with us for a collaboration on a project to ensure the implementation of the law on the promotion and protection of the right of indigenous populations in the Congo. This project selected in a call for proposals of the European Union, aims to ensure the defence and promotion of the right of Pygmy populations; supports the development of organisations and leaders of indigenous people; raises awareness of public opinion and encourages change of behaviour regarding Pygmy populations.
This action strengthens the ongoing collaboration between AEDH and the OCDH in the context of another project on the fight against arbitrary detention and torture in the Congo.