Batwa: Legal Protection for Indigenous Group?
A new law in the Democratic
Below is an article published by YubaNet:
NGOs in the
The appeal was made at news conference on 27 November  by the Congolese human rights watchdog Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH) and its partners, a few days after the launch of an international petition to the president to initiate a process of adopting legislation on the rights of indigenous people.
The petition was initiated by the Rainforest Foundation, a global organisation which supports people living in and around the world's rainforests, with support from the
In July , OCDH called for the swift adoption of a law drafted in 2006 to guard against abuses suffered by indigenous peoples. The draft of the law, a first in
According to official statistics, about 700,000 indigenous people live in central Africa, mainly in the
In August , a national network to promote their interests was formed in
"Like our foreign partners, we launch a call to the president of the republic to adopt this law," said Roch Euloge Nzobo, in charge of the programmes at the OCDH.
Human rights campaigners have, however, said the process seems to have stalled.
"Since the arrival of Aime Emmanuel Yoka as minister for justice in February 2007, the process has been blocked. The initiative has hit a dead end at the ministry," said Nzobo.
There are several groups of indigenous communities, often referred to as "Pygmies", in Congo's forests, including the Baka, Bakola, Aka, Babongo, Bambuti and Batwa, who have often complained of being marginalised and shunned by other communities. OCDH says the communities suffer discrimination, exploitation and disrespect.