Democratic Republic of the Congo Report of Research and Information Visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2009

Dates:9 - 25 August 2009
Session:49th Ordinary Session
28 April - 12 May 2011. Banjul, Gambia
Special Mechanism:Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa

This research and information visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo was conducted from 9 to 25 August 2009 by Mr Zephyrin Kalimba, member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities, accompanied by the sociologist, Mr Loamba Moke, President of the Association pour les Droits de l'Homme et l'Univers Carceral (ADHUC). The mission was assisted in North and South Kivu provinces by Maitre Paulin Polepole, a member of Environnement, Ressources Naturelles et Developpement (ERND Institute).

The objectives of the visit were:
  • To inform the Congolese government, regional and local authorities, national human rights institutions, the media, civil society organisations and associations, development agencies and other players involved in protecting and promoting indigenous populations in Africa about the report and the efforts of the ACHPR with regard to indigenous populations;
  • To collect all information relating to the human rights situation of indigenous populations in the DRC with a view to providing an in-depth report to the ACHPR;
  • To distribute the African Commission¡¥s report on indigenous peoples to key individuals and institutions;
  • To distribute the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Populations, adopted on 13 September 2007, to the different actors met and to discuss its implementation.
Recommendations

A. To the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo
  1. Put in place positive sectoral policies that will enable the indigenous populations to enjoy all basic rights (including to health and education) and fundamental freedoms on the same basis as the rest of the Congolese population;
  2. Validate and make known the national strategy on the development of indigenous populations in the DRC;
  3. Develop a specific law on the promotion and protection of indigenous rights in the DRC;
  4. Expedite the court case between the indigenous populations living around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Kabare, South Kivu, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and the Congolese State in a transparent and equitable way;
  5. Take specific measures to ensure that indigenous populations get access to justice through the strengthening of legal aid centres;
  6. Involve the indigenous organisations and communities in the decision-making, design, establishment and monitoring of development projects that affect their communities;
  7. Organise a specific census of indigenous populations;
  8. Take measures to ensure the systematic registration of births and the issuing of civil documentation to indigenous children and parents;
  9. Recognise the traditional way of life of indigenous populations and take measures to encourage their access to citizenship;
  10. Provide legal protection of indigenous peoples‘ rights to land, forests and natural resources;
  11. Take specific measures to ensure indigenous populations are not being dispossessed of their land and natural resources and to ensure that indigenous populations are involved in decision making processes and management of their land and natural resources.
  12. Compensate adequatly the indigenous populations that have been expropriated from their lands for public good ;
  13. Make known and disseminate in local languages the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  14. Take specific measures aimed at protecting the rights of indigenous women and girls, who are doubly vulnerable because they are both female and indigenous;
  15. Ensure the protection of indigenous women from sexual violence or any other form of violence and put in place programmes to help the victims of violence ;
  16. Take measures to protect the rights of the abandoned children as a result of rape;
  17. Promote indigenous peoples‘ traditional culture through pharmacopeia and handcraft;
  18. Ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence against indigenous populations, including those involved in practices of slavery or rape, are brought to justice;
  19. Put in place programmes encouraging income generating activities for indigenous peoples;
  20. Help indigenous populations‘ organisations to access the DRC‘s Social Fund;
  21. Take the necessary measures aimed at ratifying ILO Convention 169;
  22. Establish a lasting peace in the DRC in general and in North and South Kivu provinces in particular, in order to enable the indigenous populations to return to their places of origin.
B. To Congolese civil society
  1. Undertake greater networking in order to better guide and organise activities of lobbying, advocacy, awareness raising, sustainable development, the fight against impunity, etc;
  2. Take ownership of and raise awareness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  3. Take ownership of and raise awareness of the Forest Code and the the Mining Code;
  4. Train indigenous populations in the use of participatory mapping when demarcating their lands;
  5. Support the indigenous populations in legal and administrative areas;
  6. Strengthen the legal aid centres already in place;
  7. Initiate programmes of income generating activities for indigenous populations;
  8. Initiate programmes to insure the protection of the children resulting from rape;
  9. Promote access to education on the part of indigenous children;
  10. Promote access to basic services on the part of indigenous populations;
C. To the international community
  1. Support the sustainable development activities and programmes of indigenous populations in the DRC;
  2. Support the Congolese government to implement its national plan for indigenous populations;
  3. Anticipate including indigenous issues in the different processes relating to the forest management of the Congo basin, such as AFLEG (Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance), the European Union convergence plan, the World Bank, the different bilateral partners and the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC);
  4. Organise inter-agency meetings aimed at raising awareness of indigenous issues and mobilising resources;
  5. Support an in-depth study into the situation of indigenous populations in the DRC, including a specific census;
  6. Support the dissemination of the African Commission‘s report on the rights of indigenous communities;
  7. Support the education of indigenous children.
  8. Support financially and technically NGOs involved in the protection of indigenous peoples‘ rights.

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