• Indigenous peoples in Burkina Faso

    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.
  • Peoples

    60 different ethnic groups can be found in Burkina Faso
  • Rights

    2007: Burkina Faso votes in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Current state

    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.

Burkina Faso

The Peul and the Tuareg are the main indigenous groups of Burkina Faso, but they are not officially recognized by the state. While Burkina Faso voted in favor of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007, the Constitution of the country does not recognize the existence of indigenous peoples.

The Constitution guarantees education and health for all its citizens, but due to lack of resources and adequate infrastructure, nomadic populations in practice can only enjoy these rights in a very limited way.

Main indigenous peoples of Burkina Faso: the Peul and the Tuareg

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 Peul herders, also called fulbe duroobe egga hoɗɗaaɓe, or duroobe, or egga hoɗɗaaɓe, as well as the Tuareg. They can be found throughout the country, but are particularly concentrated in the northern regions of Séno, Soum, Baraboulé, Djibo, Liptaako, Yagha and Oudalan. The Peul and the Tuareg often live in geographically isolated, dry and economically marginalized areas.

Many Peul pastoralists remain nomadic, following seasonal migrations and traveling hundreds of kilometers to neighboring countries, particularly Togo, Benin and Ghana. Unlike other populations in Burkina Faso, nomadic peul are shepherds whose lives are governed by the activities necessary for the survival of their animals, and many of them still reject any activity unrelated to extensive livestock.

Main challenges for the Peul

The culture and way of life of nomadic Peul pastoralists remains an object of discrimination against them, and their basic rights are still being violated both inside and outside Burkina Faso.

Many are displaced by force, and the main problem is their security. A considerable number of Peul herders have suffered cattle theft, which in recent years has led to the emergence of local self-defense groups known as Koglweogo, intended to help ensure the safety of nomadic pastoralists.

Advances in the participation of pastoralists

The nomadic indigenous movement of pastoralists in Burkina Faso has led to the emergence of a group of pastoralist leaders known as Rugga. In October 2016, around 40 of them were part of a Congress organized in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

Rougga's vision focuses on achieving peaceful pastoralist societies by turning to internal pastoral specialists. It also exists in other countries such as Niger and can be considered a true indigenous movement, aware of the challenges faced by pastoralists.

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About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

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