WWF to help Divisional Directorate for the Promotion of Indigenous Peoples of the Sangha
WWF will help the Divisional Directorate for the Promotion of Indigenous Peoples of the Sangha build campaigns to popularize Law No. 5-2011 of 25 February 2011 and related legislation on promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous populations.
With the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Divisional Directorate for the Promotion of Indigenous Peoples of the Sangha has launched mass campaigns to popularize Law No. 5-2011. of 25 February 2011 among Local Communities and Indigenous Populations (IPCLs). An awareness campaign was held from 06 to 15 February 2021 in the Pikounda district to bring the IPLCs up to speed with the provisions of the new law.
As part of its social policies and guarantees, WWF is committed to taking special measures to ensure that collective and individual rights are respected, protected and upheld as it implements conservation programs on the ground. WWF is therefore positioning itself as a key player in ensuring compliance with the rights of indigenous populations in the Congo. It is in this connection that the Fund backed the team led by Mr. Moise VOUSSABAKI, Divisional Director for the Promotion of Indigenous Peoples of the Sangha, during the awareness-raising mission conducted in eight (08) villages (Ikassendé, Matélé, Ikolomoye, Ipomba, Epélé, Matali, Ngangassa and Molanda) of the district of Pikounda and a district of Pikounda center (Bakoli) to inform and raise collective awareness on the equality and legality of indigenous peoples’ rights on the one hand , and raise awareness among local communities and indigenous populations on the provisions of this law on the other hand.
Enacted in 2011, Law n ° 5-2011 of 25 February 2011 on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous populations, establishes the Republic of Congo as a leading figure in this area, being the only legislation of its kind in the region and sets an example for other countries that harbor indigenous populations like the Congo.
During the awareness meetings in the villages, Mr. Moise VOUSSABAKI stressed that "any form of discrimination against indigenous populations, based on their social origin or indigenous identity is against the law "And that" acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, attacks on the right to life and to physical and moral integrity are also forbidden by law. Acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment against indigenous populations will be punished in accordance with the provisions of article 309 of the Penal Code, subject to compensation for all damage caused "
At the close of the awareness sessions, the participants said they had been enlightened thanks to what they had learned about Law No. 5-2011 and promised to look at the natives with new eyes. By mutual agreement, they promised to relay the information by raising awareness among the populations that had not participated in the information-packed meeting and support the locals in follow-up procedures to obtain identification papers and even help them get PDAC funding for farming activities.
Still, the indigenous populations raised major concerns and problems, especially regarding struggles to exercise their right to health care due to long distances from health centers, as well as issues related to the right to education. "We want a school to be built between Ngangassa and Pikounda, not only because the villages are very far from Malonda but travelling is exclusively water-borne, which is too risky for our children,” said an indigenous mother.
Aside from these major problems, another issue raised was the right to citizenship due to the hurdles indigenous populations face when trying to acquire civil status documents and national identity cards (CNI).
Finally, the participants called for more meetings and wider popularization as well as protective mechanisms for people who report cases of sexual violence against indigenous women and girls.
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Baroness Scotland is head of the Commonwealth Secretariat - the organisation's main intergovernmental agency. Getty Image. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, will be in Gabon from Wednesday 1 March to highlight the importance of protecting global biodiversity at the One Forest Summit in Libreville on Thursday.