Greenpeace Africa welcomes the decision by the DRC's National Assembly to adopt a law that recognizes and protects the specific rights of Indigenous People.
"This historical step by the Congolese parliament is an inspiring precedent for the promotion of equal rights and peaceful coexistence between these Guardians of the Congo Basin forest and other communities", says Serge Ngwato, forest campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.
This step in the right direction follows years of efforts to improve the living conditions of Indigenous People in the DRC. A good example is to be found in the village of Lokolama near the town of Mbandaka in the province of Equateur. The social and economic challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples are largely related to the contempt for their identity, knowledge, particularity, and to the contestation of their customary heritage. Greenpeace Africa's support to this community in the past three years has facilitated its access to a forest concession title. This new law may offer a more comprehensive solution.
Despite its positive content, the new law will finally be evaluated in its implementation. As with the adoption process, the mobilisation and solidarity of all citizens and global allies would be necessary to ensure its success.