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MRG urges action on Batwa rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo

27 March 2024

The statement delivered by Stefania Carrer in the name of Minority Rights Group during the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 21 March 2024 draws attention to the dire situation of indigenous Batwa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite legal protections, Batwa face ongoing attacks and displacement from their ancestral lands in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Marginalized and impoverished, they suffer human rights abuses perpetrated by park guards and military forces. We urge the Council to monitor, investigate and address these violations, holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Mister Chair, Mister High Commissioner, international experts,

Minority Rights Group calls on the attention of the Council to the situation of indigenous Batwa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their existence continues to be threatened and they face regular attacks in relation to their eviction from their ancestral lands for the expansion of the National Park of Kahuzi-Biega (PNKB), without their free, prior and informed consent.

Rendered squatters at the park’s margins, Batwa of the PNKB experience marginalization and severe poverty. The DRC refuses to include Batwa in the management of the park, despite the promulgation of national legislation prescribing public consultation for new projects.

Instead, Batwa have continued to face serious and widespread human rights abuses jointly carried out by park guards and Congolese Army soldiers.

In January of this year, MRG received credible reports that new attacks against the Batwa villages in the Kabare and Kalehe territories took place. It is alleged that Batwa civilians have been injured and forced to flee into the forest; families forcibly displaced; houses burnt to the ground and property destroyed, vandalized and impounded.

Batwa leaders who actively advocate for the rights of their communities are frequently targeted with death threats and forced to relocate to protect themselves and their families.

The human rights violations committed against the Batwa of the PNKB should be monitored, investigated and addressed, and perpetrators held accountable.

I thank you.

Watch the statement

Remains of a destroyed Batwa home in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Credit: Robert Flummerfelt.


Stefania Carrer

Litigation and Advocacy Officer

Minority Rights Group