Congo Congo: Mission Working Group Indigenous Populations / Communities, 2005

Dates:5 - 19 September 2005
Session:38th Ordinary Session
21 November - 5 December 2005. Banjul, Gambia
Special Mechanism:Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa

The African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/ Communities conducted a research and information visit to the Republic of Congo from 5 to 19 September 2005. The mission team comprised Mr. Zephyrin Kalimba, a member of the Working Group and Dr. Albert K. Barume, a member of the Working Group’s advisory network of experts. The aim of the visit was to:
  • Inform the Congolese government, regional and local authorities, national human rights organisations, media, civil society organisations and associations, development agencies and other interested players about the report and the efforts of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with regard to indigenous peoples;
  • Collect all information relating to the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in the Republic of Congo with a view to providing an in-depth report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
  • Distribute the African Commission’s report on indigenous peoples to targeted individuals and institutions.
Recommendations

A. To the Government of the Republic of Congo
  1. Bring the draft bill on ‘Pygmies’ to a successful conclusion, bearing in mind the deep concerns of the communities in question;
  2. Put national sectoral policies in place that will enable the ‘Pygmies’ to enjoy all rights and fundamental freedoms on a par with other Congolese citizens;
  3. Take measures to put an end to the practice of “Pygmies’ masters” and punish all those who take part in it.
To the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights
  1. Conduct country by country monitoring of the commitments and for indigenous policies adopted by development agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners;
  2. Organise a regional conference on experiences of educating ‘Pygmy’ children in Central Africa with a view to exchanging experiences, gaining inspiration and, for some, refocusing strategies;
  3. Support the creation of an indigenous civil society in this country with a view to establishing capable and legitimate spokespersons with whom the government can dialogue;
  4. Visit the Republic of Congo with a view to supporting the draft bill that is underway and raising the awareness of the government with regard to the different aspects of indigenous law that this bill should incorporate;
  5. Write to the European Union, the World Bank, the different bilateral partners and COMIFAC (Forestry Commission in Central Africa) with a view to including the issue of indigenous  peoples in the different processes related to forestry management in the Congo basin, such as AFLEG (Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance), the Convergence Plan, etc.;
  6. Commence intersessional meetings involving the development agencies and players working on behalf of indigenous peoples in Africa;
  7. Put in place a mechanism for monitoring the recommendations of the Working Group’s Reports through different players, both State and non-State.
To the Congolese civil society
  1. Strengthen the existing indigenous associations.
To the international community
  1. Design and implement projects specifi cally focussing on the needs of the Pygmy population, including such issues as land, education, health, forced labour, bondage and sexual  violence;
  2. Support an in-depth study of the situation of indigenous Pygmy peoples in the Republic of Congo, possibly including a census;
  3. Assist in disseminating the African Commission’s report on the rights of indigenous communities.


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