• Republic of Congo

    Republic of Congo

    Located at the heart of the second-largest mass of forest cover in the world, the Republic of Congo covers 342,000 km2 of Central Africa.
  • Peoples

    2,000,000, or 3 per cent of the population, are indigenous, according to civil society organisations’ estimates
  • Rights

    It is noteworthy, that The Democratic Republic of Congo’s climate change-related programmes refer to indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Challenges

    Land rights and poverty are among the main challenges
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  • Republic of Congo

Republic of Congo

Located in the heart of the second largest forest mass in the world, the Republic of the Congo covers 342,000 km2 of Central Africa. The Republic has 4,085,422 inhabitants according to a 2011 survey, and some sources say that indigenous peoples represent 10% of the total population.

The indigenous peoples in the Republic of the Congo are known as Bakola, Tswa or Batwas, Babongo, Baaka, Mbendjeles, Mikayas, Bagombes, Babis and more.

Indigenous peoples in the Republic of the Congo

The names of the indigenous peoples of the Congo vary. They can be known in terms such as Bakola, Tswa or Batwas, Babongo, Baaka, Mbendjeles, Mikayas, Bagombes and Babis. It is officially estimated that indigenous peoples are 50,000 individuals or approximately 1.2 percent of the total population of 2007. A 2008 report by UNICEF questions this number by suggesting that indigenous peoples make up a much larger proportion of the population, as well as indigenous peoples 10%.

Declaration, Convention and Constitution

The Republic of the Congo has not ratified ILO Convention No. 169, but voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.

The protection of the rights of indigenous peoples has been constitutionally enshrined since October 2015. Article 16 says that: "The law guarantees and provides promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples." The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is responsible for promoting indigenous rights.


Challenges for indigenous peoples in Congo

In 2007, the National Network of Indigenous Peoples of the Congo (RENAPAC) was established as a platform to represent indigenous civil society. The network has been involved in most of the political processes that affect indigenous peoples. However, the network is challenged in terms of capacity among its organizers and there is a need to strengthen its ownership of the law that promotes and protects the rights of indigenous peoples.

Despite the law, the indigenous population continues to suffer discrimination and marginalization, which explains the need for a more dynamic society.

Congolese Law on indigenous peoples' rights translated into English

On the 30th December 2010 the Parliament adopted a law for the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Republic of Congo. This law is the first of its kind in Africa, and its adoption is a historic development for indigenous peoples on the continent. It is hoped that this law will be a source of inspiration for other countries in Africa to take similar initiatives, IWGIA therefore welcomes the translation of the law into English.

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.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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