Indigenous peoples in Burkina Faso
The Peul and the Tuareg are the main indigenous groups of Burkina Faso, but are not recognised. The Constitution of Burkina Faso guarantees education and health for all, but as the Peul and the Tuareg are nomades, they can in practice only enjoy these rights to a very limited extent.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted
Burkina Faso voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September 2007.
The existence of indigenous peoples is not recognised by the Constitution of Burkina Faso. The Constitution guarantees education and health for all, but due to a lack of resources and proper infrastructure, the nomadic populations can in practice only enjoy these rights to a very limited extent.
The Peul and the Tuareg are the main indigenous groups of Burkina Faso
According to the 2006 census, Burkina Faso has a population of 14,017,262 inhabitants comprising some 60 different ethnic groups.
The main indigenous groups are the pastoralist Peul, also called the fulbe duroobe egga hoɗɗaaɓe, or duroobe, or egga hoɗɗaaɓe, as well as the Tuareg. They can be found throughout the whole country, but are particularly concentrated in the northern regions of Séno, Soum, Baraboulé, Djibo, Liptaako, Yagha, and Oudalan.
The Peul and the Tuareg most often live in areas, which are geographically isolated, dry, and economically marginalised.
Many Peul pastoralists remain nomadic following seasonal migrations and travelling hundreds of kilometres into neighbouring countries, particularly Togo, Benin and Ghana.
Unlike other populations in Burkina Faso, the nomadic Peul are pastoralists whose lives are governed by the activities necessary for the survival of their animals, and many of them still reject any activity not related to extensive livestock rearing.
Main challenges for the Peul
The culture and way of life of the nomadic Peul pastoralists continues to be an object of discrimination, and both inside and outside Burkina Faso, their basic rights are still being violated.
Many are forcibly displaced, and the overriding issue is their security. In the neighbouring country, Côte d’Ivoire, for example, many Peul livestock herders from Burkina Faso have had to flee the violence.
Many Peul pastoralists have suffered badly from theft of their livestock, which in recent years, has led to the emergence of local self-defence groups known as Koglweogo, aimed at helping to ensure the security of the nomadic pastoralists.
Progress in pastoralist participation
The nomadic pastoralists’ indigenous movement in Burkina Faso has led to the emergence of a group of pastoralist leaders known as Rugga. In October 2016, around 40 took part in a Congress, that was organised in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
The Rougga vision focuses on achieving peaceful pastoralist societies by drawing on internal pastoral specialists. It also exists in other countries, such as Niger, and can be considered a truly indigenous movement, aware of the challenges facing pastoralism.