CERD responds to NGOs' submission on violations against indigenous peoples in DRC

CERD responds to NGOs' submission on violations against indigenous peoples in DRC

In response to the submission made to CERD in June 2006 regarding widespread, persistent and systematic violations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination against indigenous peoples in the DRC, CERD has issued a Press Release:

Extract from United Nations Press Release by
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

16 August 2006

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today continued its discussion on its early warning and emergency action procedure.

On the early warning and emergency action procedure, Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill, Chairperson of the Working Group on the early warning and emergency action procedure, continued her presentation started yesterday, looking at complaints relating to Suriname, Nicaragua, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ms. January-Bardill said seven submitting organizations had expressed concern about the situation of indigenous peoples there, owing to the granting of logging rights and the establishment of national parks without their consultation, as well as general non-recognition of their rights to own, control and use their lands and territories and resources, or any legal guarantees in that regard.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had last reported to the Committee in 1996, when the Committee had expressed its grave reservations about the situation of the Batwa/Pygmies. As the Democratic Republic of the Congo had now submitted its report, Ms. January-Bardill suggested that the situation could be addressed by, first, bringing forward the date for the report's consideration to March 2007, and then sending a letter to the State party requesting that it provide information on the question to be addressed in conjunction with consideration of the report.

The Committee decided to move the date for consideration of the report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo forward to March 2007, and to send a letter to the Government requesting information on the present matter to be considered in conjunction with the Committee's consideration of its report.