This Report contains the research and information visit to the Republic of Gabon, conducted from 15 to 30 September 2007. Mr. Zéphyrin Kalimba, member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations / Communities, was accompanied by the sociologist, Mr. Loamba Moke, President of the Association pour les Droits de l’Homme et l’Univers Carcéral (ADHUC). The mission’s objectives were:
- To inform the Gabonese government, the local and regional authorities, national hu• man rights institutions, the media, civil society organisations, development agencies and other stakeholders about the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ report and efforts in relation to indigenous peoples;
- To gather information on the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in the • Republic of Gabon with a view to providing a report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights via its Working Group on Indigenous Populations / Communities;
- To discuss the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of • Indigenous Peoples adopted on 13 September 2007;
- To distribute the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ report on • indigenous peoples to targeted institutions and individuals.
A. To the Government of the Republic of Gabon:
- To put national sectoral policies in place enabling the Pygmies to enjoy their rights and fundamental freedoms on a par with the rest of the Gabonese population;
- To recognize the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous Pygmy population;
- To take measures accordingly to legally protect the access and rights to land, forests and natural resources of Pygmies;
- To involve indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities in the design, implementation and monitoring of development projects in Pygmy areas of Gabon;
- To involve indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities in implementing the Pygmy integrated development project in Gabon;
- To organise a census specifically for indigenous peoples;
- To take measures guaranteeing the systematic registration of births, along with the issuing of birth certificates to indigenous Pygmy children and their parents;
- To issue permanent permits of association for indigenous Pygmy organisations;
- To undertake a study on the issue of practices similar to slavery among the Pygmy population and make concrete recommendations for actions to be taken;
- To ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations towards the Pygmies – including that of practices similar to slavery – are brought to justice;
- To take measures to protect the rights of Pygmy women who are doubly vulnerable, being both women and Pygmies;
- To take measures to ensure that the Pygmy population has, in practice, access to education and health services on a par with the rest of the Gabonese population.
- To take measures with a view to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- To take measure to ensure participation and representation of the Pygmies at the local level and national decision making structures;
- To take measures to ratify ILO Convention 169.
B. To the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
- To undertake country-by-country monitoring of the commitments and/or indigenous policies adopted by the development agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners;
- To organise a regional conference on experiences of educating Pygmy children in Central Africa with a view to exchanging experiences, inspiration and, for some, making readjustments;
- To support the creation of an indigenous civil society in Gabon with a view to establishing a capable and legitimate point of contact for the government;
- To organise a national seminar in Gabon with a view to raising awareness among government, UN agencies, the World Bank, European Union, environmental organisations, indigenous Pygmy peoples and other players with regard to different aspects of indigenous rights;
- To encourage the Gabonese government, UN agencies and other development agencies to pay particular attention to the education of Pygmy children;
- To convince Gabon to ratify the Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Women’s Rights;
- To send a letter to the European Union, World Bank, different bilateral partners and the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) with a view to including the issue of indigenous peoples in the different forestry management processes in the Congo Basin, such as AFLEG (Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Government), the convergence plan, etc.;
- To instigate inter-sessional meetings involving development agencies and players working for indigenous peoples in Africa;
- To put in place a mechanism to monitor the recommendations made to different government and non-government players in Working Group reports.
C. To Gabonese civil society:
- To strengthen the existing indigenous associations.
- To include indigenous peoples’ issues in the development and human rights work of existing civil society organizations.
D. To the international community:
- To put in place and implement projects focusing particularly on the needs of Pygmy populations, including issues such as forest access rights, land, education, health, forced labour and sexual violence;
- To support an in-depth study into the situation of the indigenous Pygmy peoples of Gabon, including a census;
- To support the popularisation of the African Commission’s report on the rights of indigenous communities;
- To support projects related to indigenous peoples’ rights.
E. To the African Union
- To consider granting special representation to indigenous peoples’ organizations within the ECOSOC at the African Union.