A New Indigenous Peoples Law in the Democratic Republic of Congo
November 16, 2022
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has just promulgated a new law on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in the country.
This groundbreaking law, the result of years of efforts by Congolese organisations such as Dynamique des Groupes des Peuples Autochtones (DGPA) with the support of Rainforest Foundation Norway, will have far-reaching implications for Indigenous Peoples in the country who suffer extreme political, economic and social marginalisation. Among other things, it provides them with easier access to justice and basic social services as well as recognising their right to lands and natural resources they own, occupy or use.
It also supports their right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) concerning developments on their lands, something that is particularly important given planned fossil fuel expansion and other looming threats to these areas.
This marks the second Indigenous Peoples law in the Congo Basin region after the Republic of Congo passed an equivalent text in 2011. The challenge is now to ensure it is fully implemented such as through participatory mapping and securing of Indigenous lands while also harmonising these actions with ongoing reforms including on land-use planning, tenure and community forests.