JIPA 2019: REPALEAC promotes linguistic and cultural diversity among DRC’s indigenous pygmy populations
Indigenous people in Itombswe reserve, DRC, image credit Infocongo
On the sidelines of the celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (JIPA 2019), the Indigenous Peoples’ Network for Forest Ecosystem Management (REPALEF) held a press briefing on 9 August 2019 in the Arche Room in Kinshasa, Gombe The main item on the agenda was the launch of the month’s activities focusing on indigenous peoples’ across the DRC.
Invited to take the floor, Keddy Bosulu, the REPALEF Coordinator spoke highly of the event which has been held since 2010 to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. He then called for a large turnout throughout the month to champion the cause of these people and secure their rights.
Three other speakers made statements, namely: Patrick Saidi (DGPA) who said the IPs were looking forward to the outcome of the territorial management reform; Kapipu Diwa touched on valuing indigenous people’s languages and cultures and Pastor Jean Mpia Bikopo talked about the collective work “the Head of State’s vision on integrating the DRC’s indigenous peoples”.
The speeches were followed by lively discussions with the authors who asked questions about: The importance of indigenous languages, recognition and securing of their rights and promotional events held this month, focusing on indigenous peoples in the DRC.
Also, other similar events were held in other provinces of the Equator by the NGO UDMA and in North Kivu by the NGO PIDP, both members of REPALEF.
It should be noted as well that indigenous peoples are heirs of a varied linguistic and cultural legacy as well as ancestral customs and traditions. They have more than 5000 different cultures and speak the vast majority of the world’s 7000 languages. Despite their diversity, most indigenous peoples share important commonalities, notably their ties to their ancestral lands and environment as well as their commitment to preserving their community structure, cultural, social and economic values which are often at odds with the prevailing norms of the societies in which they live. Though different from each other, indigenous peoples face similar challenges when it comes to ensuring recognition and protection of their most basic rights.
For many years, indigenous peoples have been seeking the recognition of their identity, lifestyle, lands, territories and natural resources and yet for all their effort, they continue to suffer from discrimination and injustice.
Hence on 9th August every year, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is dedicated to this struggle. The date was chosen in memory of the first meeting of United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.
For more information, please contact:
Alain Parfait N. NGULUNGU