The Republic of Congo will become the first country in Africa to pass legislation that will protect its Indigenous Peoples' rights. Ten percent of Congo’s population is Indigenous, many of whom are marginalized and even used as slaves.
After close to seven years of waiting, the bill was passed by both the Senate and National Assembly in late December and will become law once signed by the president. The law's purpose is to address their marginalization and exclusion from receiving education and health services. Under the new law, Indigenous People will be protected and enjoy the same rights as the Bantu. It also mandates punishment and fines against anyone who uses Indigenous persons as slaves.
The term "Indigenous" is a controversial one in Africa, as many argue that all Africans are "Indigenous." To learn more about this debate see our Cultural Survival Quarterly issue on Indigeneity in Africa.
Source: Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples