Véronique BULAYA
Posted September 11, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo


Theme: Indigenous women and natural resources

Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Pride Inn, Hotel, Raphta Road, Westlands, Nairobi- Kenya

From September 8 to 12, 2019


Dear participants in the conference (In your respective titles and qualities);

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

My name is Veronique BULAYA, Coordinator of the support organization for women and indigenous youth called PIFEVA (Pillar to Vulnerable Women Active in the Democratic Republic of Congo) based in Bukavu in the DRC.

I am very honored to participate in this conference thanks to the ingenuity of SAMBURU WOMEN TRUST which allows me to amplify the voice of the indigenous women of the Democratic Republic of Congo throughout this conference with the theme "Indigenous women and natural resources".

May SAMBURU WOMEN TRUST find here, as host of this conference, the expression of our deepest gratitude.

May the whole organizing team of this conference also extend our sincere congratulations on the sacrifices made for the success of this conference, which is of great importance for African Indigenous Women.

Dear participants in the conference (In your respective titles and qualities);

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

The situation of indigenous women in the DRC remains very worrying, especially for indigenous women who have suffered, and continue to suffer, multiple forms of discrimination and serious violations of their human rights, including their right of access to land and natural resources.

It is deplorable that the DRC government's report on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration makes no mention of indigenous women in the DRC as they represent one of the most marginalized social groups in the country. We take this opportunity to denounce the fact that indigenous women and their organizations were not involved in the May 2011 national-level review of the DRC's commitments in the implementation of the Convention. statement from Beijing.

In fact, land insecurity continues to accentuate the marginalization of indigenous women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This problem is explained by the fact that the right of indigenous women to land and natural resources is closely linked to the right of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands. This is justified by the fact that the deep relationship that aboriginal women in particular, and all the indigenous peoples of the DRC have with their lands, territories and natural resources, is well recognized by international law. This spiritual, cultural, social, economic and political relationship is indispensable for their existence, survival and identification even as indigenous peoples.

Many legal instruments unequivocally protect the land rights of women and indigenous peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to own, use, develop and control the rights of indigenous peoples. lands that they own because they own them or occupy or use them traditionally, as well as those they have acquired.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has repeatedly recognized the fundamental link between protecting the rights of indigenous peoples to own, develop, control and use their lands, resources and resources. communal territories and the preservation of their way of life, their means of subsistence and, essentially, their cultural identity.

Unfortunately, taking into account the relationships and roles of Aboriginal women in their ancestral lands, the dispossession of their ancestral lands and territories to which they have been and continue to be confronted has necessarily resulted in different impacts for men and women indigenous.

For Indigenous women, their central roles in gathering food and medicinal plants to feed and care for their families, in the development of their huts, in the production of items for their household such as baskets, in fishing, hunting and the sale of non-lined forest products and their key role in maintaining their extensive knowledge of the surrounding ecosystems and in the transmission of traditional and indigenous technologies have been greatly compromised. Although it remains their responsibility to ensure the well-being of their families, they often lack the means to do so and must live in conditions of extreme vulnerability. This exposes them to exploitation, begging, prostitution and violence.

Despite the adoption of the Forest Code and a moratorium on concessions, the illegal timber trade, the abusive exploitation of the DRC's forests continue to be damaging to ecology and biodiversity and to undermine women's rights indigenous peoples, in particular to occupy their ancestral lands and manage their forests according to their traditional practices.

The establishment of national parks and nature reserves also contributed to the dispossession of women and indigenous peoples in the DRC. This is the case of thousands of indigenous people who were brutally expelled from their ancestral lands when national parks were created or their boundaries extended to South Kivu (Kahuzi-Biega National Park) and the National Wildlife Sanctuary. 'Itombwe), North Kivu (Virunga National Park), Orientale Province (Okapi Wildlife Reserve) and Ecuador (Salonga National Park) without consultation or compensation.

We recall here that the latter should have received other lands as compensation, but nothing has been done. Now they are not allowed to hunt in the park and pick the products from the park. They are deprived of food resources and medicinal plants and they no longer have access to their place of worship.

The lands of women and indigenous peoples have also been stolen for the extractive industry projects, often in violation of national law in consultations and international law relating to the right of peoples indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent. For example, concessions were set up on and beside peoples' ancestral lands without prior consultation or consent, such as the concession of the BBC and the Wood Processing Industry (ITB) in the Ingende and Bikoro territories in Equateur Province. The operators of these concessions operate without regard to the rights of indigenous peoples over these concessions and without any benefit to them.

In light of the above, and on the sidelines of this conference, PIFEVA has organized local participatory consultations with indigenous women that they directly accompany in the field and recommends the following:

1) PIFEVA and Indigenous women supported in DRC is seeking the support of partners and donors to amplify the voice of indigenous women in the DRC at the Beijing +25 conference scheduled for September 2020 in New York;

2) The DRC government should put in place a mechanism to provide redress to indigenous women and youth, as well as to indigenous peoples as a community, for their lands taken without their consent, and ensure that the compensation awarded is fair and equitable and does not contribute to exacerbating gender inequalities;

3) The DRC government should ensure that land reforms and forestry projects and the international initiatives to which it committed, pay special attention to indigenous women and guarantee them the right to access and control their lands and natural resources. This protection includes recognition of the collective right of indigenous peoples to maintain their cultural links with their lands and to own and control their natural resources;

4) The DRC government should adopt legislative measures that recognize the land rights of women and indigenous peoples in general and their right to free, prior and informed consent. The current Congolese forest zoning process should include a mechanism to identify the lands and territories of indigenous women and peoples with a view to recognizing and protecting them in accordance with the international conventions that the DRC has ratified.

5) The DRC government should urgently adopt and implement special measures to ensure the socio-economic integration of indigenous women and young people in the DRC, including through the protection and implementation of their economic and social rights. and cultural.


Comments 7

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Jill Langhus
Sep 11, 2019
Sep 11, 2019

Hi Véronique,

Thanks for supplying an English version of your amazing, recent speech. I'm looking forward to hearing how your speech was received and what changes will be implemented for these poor, indigenous women.

Hope you're doing well, and having a great week!?

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 12, 2019
Sep 12, 2019

Hi Véronique,
Such an important message and beautifully said. Indigenous women are rising globally. In Canada it is Indigenous women in the front lines of land protection, as are Indigenous women throughout South America, especially at this critical moment, in Brazil. It is time for these important priorities to met and honoured. Congratulations on your strong voice, and for all your work.
In sisterhood,

Beth Lacey
Sep 12, 2019
Sep 12, 2019

Great speech! Thanks for posting

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Sep 12, 2019
Sep 12, 2019

Hello Véronique,

This is such a moving speech. It's interesting to know how similar the state of indigenous women in your country to ours. May your speech be heard loud and clear to all leaders concerned.

Thank you for sharing!

Tarke Edith
Sep 12, 2019
Sep 12, 2019

Hi Vero
Thanks for being there for the women . your speech was wonderful sis thanks for sharing.

Anita Shrestha
Sep 13, 2019
Sep 13, 2019

Hello sister
Have a nice week .


Sep 26, 2019
Sep 26, 2019

Hi Véronique,

Thank you for sharing your speech. How are you now?