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Land Body Ecologies: Understanding the Traumas of Fortress Conservation

24 May 2022 • 3:30 – 5:00 pm BST
The Hub

Global health research communities and contributions to the improvement of indigenous peoples’ health and wellbeing.

The creation of protected areas such as national parks, game reserves and nature sanctuaries are often seen as environmental solutions to protecting biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change around the world. Their creation often follows the ‘fortress conservation’ model, a prevailing way of protecting biodiversity that separates ecosystems from their original human inhabitants.

Yet the creation and management of these protected areas are often centred on violence against indigenous peoples and local communities dependent on the land. A recent investigation by Minority Rights Group revealed harrowing human rights violations committed against the indigenous Batwa living in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The atrocities were part of a campaign of violence carried out by guards of the national park and members of the Congolese army, all in the name of conservation.

Focusing on central and eastern Africa, this event will shed light on how the practice of fortress conservation is based on colonial ideologies. Speakers will discuss how the practice is perpetuating violence against both the land and the indigenous communities who rely on the land, forcing them to endure unspeakable trauma.


  • Sylvia Kokunda, Executive Director of Action for Batwa Empowerment Group (ABEG) and member of Land Body Ecologies research group
  • Colin Luoma, Lecturer in Law at Brunel University and Researcher at Minority Rights Group
  • Yannick Ndoinyo, Executive Director of Traditional Ecosystems Survival Tanzania
  • Dr. Tafadzwa Mushonga, Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria
  • Samrawit Gougsa (moderator), Head of Communications at Minority Rights Group and member of Land Body Ecologies research group

Please note this event will have a strict limited capacity, and spaces are reserved. If you can no longer attend, please do let us know by cancelling your order on Eventbrite so we can offer the place to someone else.

When? On Tuesday 24 May 2022, 15:30 – 17:00 BST

Where? The Hub, 5th Floor, 183 Euston Road, Wellcome Collection, London NW1 2BE, United Kingdom

How to register? Click here to book your seat. Reservations are strictly capped.

This event is organized in the context of the Land Body Ecologies (LBE) research project that MRG is part of. Click here to learn more about the project.