Cameroon: Kribi hosts regional dialogue on promoting forest peoples' rights

From 12 and 15 February 2019 in the city of Kribi, participants from Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Liberia, Kenya and Cameroon attend the regional dialogue on the promotion of human rights. forest peoples under the project: "Promotion of forest peoples' rights and food security and good governance in forest and climate policies; principles to practice (Enrtp) ".

In Cameroon, the problems faced by the forest peoples (Baka, Bakola, Bedzang and Badjeli) are known but very often ignored by the public authorities. These minority communities witness the exploitation of the natural resources of their living environment without any compensation. Even worse, the authorities through the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife prohibit them from exploiting non-timber forest products and animals and everything that revolves around them.

These populations are traditionally linked to this natural area. Recalcitrants are very often physically abused, imprisoned and sometimes killed. Recently in Seh, a village in Ngoyla district, a Baka and his wife were abusively beaten by local echoes on the pretext that he had shot a protected animal. In 2018, Ouané Patrice, a Baka living in the village Mboli had been beaten by agents of water and forests stationed at the National Park of Lobéké in Boumba and Ngoko for the reason that he held a hunting weapon.

According to Charles Jones Nsonkali, supervisor of the Okani Association, these denunciations are evidence of the unease of indigenous people in eastern and southern Cameroon. Cases like these two examples mentioned above are legion and lived daily in these localities. We must reverse the trend.

Since 2014, indigenous peoples' rights organizations with the support of the Forest Peoples Program (FPP) have implemented a project funded by the European Union to ensure that the rights of communities, which are in principle protected by national standards and international agreements are safeguarded for conservation and reforms of good governance. It is in this logic that the regional dialogue on the promotion of the rights of forest peoples has been opened in the capital of the Ocean Department (Kribi) in southern Cameroon.

5 countries take part: Cameroon, Liberia, DRC, CAR and the Republic of Congo. In these countries, the project is implemented and the interests of local and indigenous communities are prioritized. It is important to remember that these targeted populations face a range of human rights threats from land, wildlife and forest management approaches.

More specifically, project activities focus on the following outcomes: building the capacity of communities to better understand their rights and to mobilize against rights violations; the implementation of community-based monitoring, reporting and verification systems in order to provide the populations concerned with the necessary tools to document their situation and fight against violations of their rights; improve community food security and self-determined development through small-scale subsistence project etc.

According to the explanations given at the opening of the workshop by Romial Mabaya of the Okani association, which is fighting locally for the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular the Bakas, "this regional consultation has for main objective, the sharing of experiences and the synthesis lessons learned from the implementation of this project in Liberia, the DRC, Congo Brazzaville, CAR, Cameroon and the implementation of similar activities in Kenya ".

Beneficiaries should therefore discuss the project's exit strategies, increase the visibility of the work by sharing the stories and interviews of the communities and the impact of the project.

The first day is dedicated to group work on specific monitoring and technical support. After this phase, joint discussions will be given on common challenges and possible solutions to advance the work of monitoring internal and external threats to land and violations of indigenous peoples' rights.

Even Crepin Bissoli in Kribi | Actucameroun.com

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