State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009 - Republic of Congo
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||16 July 2009|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009 - Republic of Congo, 16 July 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a66d9a841.html [accessed 22 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The indigenous groups in the Republic of Congo, who constitute about 10 per cent of the country's population of about 3.6 million, have borne the brunt of ethnic division in the country. Civil society organizations say that their access to education and health is especially limited. In August 2008, IRIN reported on the discrimination against indigenous communities in the north of the country. A local leader of an indigenous group, the Sangha people, living near Ouesso, the main town in the region, said that the dominant group, the Bantus, disparaged the 'Pygmies' for their way of life. He also said that in school, 'indigenous children are often ridiculed by their peers'.
Toutou Ngamiye, president of the Association for the Socio-Cultural Promotion of Congo Pygmies (APSPC), said it was necessary to promote literacy and the education of indigenous children to help the people out of extreme poverty and dependence, (see Box, p. 106). According to Ngamiye: 'Over 40 years have passed since the country's independence and unfortunately there are fewer than 10 Pygmy graduates and very few have completed secondary school.'
As part of the process of recognizing their rights, Congo organized the first International Forum of Autochthonous Peoples of the Forests of Central Africa (FIPAC) in 2007, bringing together delegates from all over the region. A law to protect the rights of indigenous people is also being considered.