Field Reports

Documentation of recent violence and rights abuses against  Indigenous BaTwa / BaMbuti communities in Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda

 

Nous avons perdu un autochtone de la Commune GITOBE, colline Ruremba, province KIRUNDO. Il a été torturé  par les habitants de RUTARE et après d’etre torturé, la police a tiré sur lui.

Il a rendu son ame sur place. Que la terre lui soit légère.

We lost an Indigenous man of the village of Gitobe, Ruremba neighborhood, Kirundo Province. He was tortured by the residents of Rutare, and after being tortured, the police shot him.

He has restored his soul. May the earth be light for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Read this and weep. The Field Reports that follow represent just a small scattering of the full human cost of the widespread campaign against Indigenous Batwa and Bambuti people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda. The pattern of these incidents, along with a major massacre at Moba, DRC, described in Field Report 2017.e, indicate an attempt to eradicate the Indigenous population.

Why is this taking place? The Batwa and Bambuti, among the most ancient people remaining on earth, are subject to scathing contempt and even dehumanization by many in the surrounding local communities. This prejudice may well be locked in place by guilt, as other tribes have a long history of quasi-feudal domination of the Batwa and Bambuti. Furthermore, there has been ongoing violent conflict among many competing factions in the region over the past several decades, incentivized by a global extractive economy which rewards those who acquire minerals, timber and agricultural land. In one of the most resource-rich regions on earth, with old-growth rain-forest and highly-prized minerals such as coltan, land grabs of traditional Indigenous territories are common. These forest peoples not only lose their lands – they also lose their rights and their lives.

But there is some good news: civil society groups cutting across the various ethnic communities in the region are now joining together to protect Indigenous interests. This regional movement stands up for human rights, cultural acceptance, an end to the land grabs and conflict, and peaceful coexistence. When diverse people come together with shared intent and commitment, transformative change is possible.

Learn how you can help support this Indigenous-led movement. Click here to receive updates on the situation and opportunities for involvement. The antidote to weeping is taking action!

 

 (Traveling to remote camps to learn status and needs of Indigenous communities)

 

FIELD REPORTS – IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

 

New reports will be added at the top as they come in. Most sources are not identified precisely, in order to protect them from the possibility of life-threatening repercussions. Documents are available upon request. See contact information and footnotes by scrolling to end of report.  

 

Report 2017.s  —  189 Batwa killed in armed conflict outside Kalemie

DATE(S):

event and article: 04 July 2017

updated account: 07 July 2017

LOCATION(S):

Lukwangulu, near Kalemie, Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

According to Actualite news, clashes between “Pygmy militiamen” and Bantu people in Lukwangulu, a town 14 kilometers north of the city of Kalemie, capital of the province of Tanganyika, took place starting the morning of 04 July 2017. The clashes were allegedly triggered after the Pygmies killed two Bantus in a camp for displaced people near the town of Kalemie, according to a radio journalist broadcasting from Kalemie. The violence, for which there is no casualty list yet, has also forced many residents of Kalemie’s outlying areas and neighborhoods to move to the city center, according to Rogatien Kitenge, a civil society spokesman for Tanganyika Province.

According to our sources with direct connections to the Indigenous communities under attack, 189 Batwa people were killed on 04 July 2017, including men, women and children.

The Actualite article goes on to say that relations between Pygmies and Bantu have been strained for several decades, but clashes between the two communities have grown since 2013. On 24 February, under the mediation of the Congolese authorities, the two communities signed a Peaceful Coexistence pact. According to a UN count in February, violence between the two ethnic communities had left more than 150 people dead and more than 205 injured.

According to our sources, the estimate of 150 people dead as of February is a gross underestimate. More accurate figures can be found in previous Field Reports (provided below). See critique of “Peaceful Coexistence” pact in Report 2017.g, below.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

https://actualite.cd/2017/07/04/rdc-nouveaux-affrontements-entre-pygmees-bantous-pres-de-kalemie/

account from person who has direct connections to Indigenous communities under attack, who has compiled list of all Batwa persons killed on 04 July 2017

DOCUMENTS:

none in hand

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.r  —  DRC’s National Assembly proposes to restrict activities of human rights defenders nationwide

DATE(S):

letter: 09 June 2017

LOCATION(S):

Kinshasa (national policy)

SUMMARY:

Forty-five organizations signed an Open Letter to the President of the National Assembly of DRC, and copied it to many national-level officials. In this letter, they criticize the changes made by the Administrative and Judiciary Policy Committee to a piece of legislation initially proposed to protect human rights defenders, and already adopted by the Congolese Senate. They are extremely concerned about the following:

  • the bill has undergone profound modifications to the point of putting it in competition with that adopted in the Senate
  • more than 20 additional provisions have been inserted, showing a clear desire to restrict the fundamental freedoms and work of civil society actors
  • it now tramples various declarations on the protection of human rights defenders including those of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and even the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • the bill now restricts the freedom to defend human rights, and brings increasing legal uncertainty to human rights defenders
  • conditions to work as a human rights defender will now include taking an oath, and a minimum age of 25 years (which fails to recognize the important role of youth in human rights movements)
  • new provisions in the bill require an educational diploma, which discriminates against rural women in particular as they are very unlikely to have such a diploma
  • several provisions violate DRC’s laws and Constitution, and international conventions including:
    • Resolution 53/144 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, adopted on December 9;
    • 1998 “Declaration Of the United Nations on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms “;
    • Resolution 69 (XXXV) of 4 June 2004 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Africa, calling on Member States of the United Nations and the African Union to take appropriate measures for the protection Defenders of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
    • Convention on the Rights of the Child;
    • Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
    • Child Protection Act.

The co-signing civil society and human rights organizations call on the members of the Administrative and Judiciary Policy Committee and the National Assembly to reject these changes and adopt the version of the bill already passed by the National Senate of DRC.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

letter was developed by civil society organizations who are to be governed by the new law, and are familiar with its terms and potential impacts if adopted

DOCUMENTS:

* copy of Open Letter dated 09 June 2017

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.q  —  UN’s Special Rapporteur for Genocide Prevention visits Goma, North Kivu Province, DRC

DATE(S):

02 June 2017

LOCATION(S):

Goma, Nord-Kivu

SUMMARY:

The Special Rapporteur for Genocide Prevention, Mr. Francois Grignon, visited the DRC from 1 to 5 June 2017. The schedule included a visit to the province of North Kivu and a meeting with the NGOs therein the MONUSCO Goma headquarters, Himalayas Room, on Friday 02 June 2017 at 14:45. Several organizations that work on protecting the survival and rights of Indigenous peoples in DRC were invited to the meeting. The discussions focused on mass crimes linked to various armed conflicts and land disputes. For example, it was recommended to redefine the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) and DDRR (Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation and Reintegration) strategies, as the intended impact is not visible. The question of the wrongful taking of Indigenous peoples’ lands was also addressed. It was recommended that all the concessionaires (those making money from the lands that were taken) be identified for advocacy at a high level.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

email from Kane Safiatou, BCNUDH/Goma17

account from organization attending the meeting

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.p  —  Conflict possible as AlphaMin explores for minerals on Indigenous lands in North Kivu

DATE(S):

04 May 2017

LOCATION(S):

Bisie, Territory of Walikale, Province of Nord-Kivu

SUMMARY:

Fifty civil society groups have signed an open letter to DRC’s President Joseph Kabila, asking him to arrange a dialogue between some 8,000 artisanal miners and the mining company MPC/AlphaMin at the Bisie mining site in the Walikale region of North Kivu Province. Bisie has one of the largest tin deposits in the world. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with a manipulated party of the community, which tramples on the rights of these miners. The fear is that if the miners are expelled, they will form an armed group which would have unfortunate consequences.

AlphaMin also has a minerals exploration permit for the region, but has been exploring for minerals on a large scale without taking into account Indigenous peoples’ rights in the region. This is the basis of the dispute.

According to AlphaMin’s website, they are committed to economic prosperity in North Kivu and stability in the region, and are “a proud subscribing participant in the Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights.”

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

copy of the open letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila, signed by 50 groups; plus additional background information from one of the involved parties

information from AlphaMin’s website: http://alphaminresources.com

DOCUMENTS:

* copy of the 04 May 2017 open letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila, signed by 50 groups

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.o  —  Atrocities after Batwa kill cow near Force Bendera on border of South Kivu and Tanganyika Provinces

DATE(S):

27 April 2017 and subsequent days

LOCATION(S):

Taba-Congo, 22 km north of Kalemie

SUMMARY:

On 27 April 2017 in the area of Taba-Congo, 22 km north of Kalemie, a vagrant cow belonging to the Bafuliru8 ended up in a field belonging to Indigenous Batwa people. The cow was caught and killed by the Batwa. When the Bafuliru owner followed the cow’s track, he found that the cow was already butchered. The Batwa explained what happened, and the cause of the cow’s slaughter was settled by both parties – especially since both communities had come to share the meat. Everything seemed to be well regulated after that.

But surprisingly, when the cow’s owners arrived back in their village which they share with Bantu2 people (currently called “the Local Elements of Bantu Defense”) with meat from the cow they shared with the Batwa, the local Bantu defense elements got angry – even though everything had already been settled amicably between the Batwa and Bafuliru, and they attacked the Batwa. While the news made it appear that Batwa went to attack the Bantu, this is false; it is the Batwa that were attacked first.

In the course of the first attack, the Batwa managed to repel the Local Elements of Bantu Defense. But the Bantu did not accept this failure. On 29 April 2017, they organized a second attack in complicity with the FARDC6 soldiers in their communities, during which the Local Elements of Bantu Defense killed 8 Batwa. They then cut their bodies into pieces, taking the body parts back to their village of Taba-Congo (10 km from where this massacre was going on) and displaying them. All this took place before the eyes of the political-administrative authorities of the region, and nothing was done for the protection of the Indigenous people.

In mid-May, it was rumored that displaced Batwa people staying in the area of Misisi were about to be driven out by the pastoralist people in that region. However, our process of verification failed to confirm that information. There are currently no displaced Batwa people at Misisi. Actually, since April they had been in the locality of Force Bendera (50 km from city of Kalemie), and this is where the Bafuliru’s cow had entered the Batwa’s land. The Batwa had decided to follow the pastoralists and their herds towards Misisi, compounding an already tense situation. This is why the sages of the Bembe community of Misisi were put in the middle, to play the role of mediation between the two parties in conflict (Batwa/Bambuti and Bafuliru). The results of this mediation forced the Bafuliru pastoralists to concede two cows as an apology. After the two cows were handed over to the Bambuti, they returned to their previous area without causing any further hard feelings.

Note similarities with the account in report 2017.i15.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

details from a local civil society group with contacts in the region; later confirmed by various on-the-ground sources for MONUSCO5 and OCHA16 in the region

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.n  —  Indigenous peoples have lost hope that government will solve crisis; will rely on civil society efforts in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

meeting (by telephone): 23 April 2017

LOCATION(S):

Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

A primary advocate for the Batwa and Bambuti people in Tanganyika Province and the head of a local civil society group working towards peaceful coexistence met by phone to discuss upcoming initiatives to protect the survival and rights of Indigenous people in the region, given the dangerous conflict. All the trust and credibility the Indigenous community has thus far placed in local political and administrative authorities has resulted in failures and even manipulations to their disadvantage, so there is nothing to hope for politically in DR Congo. Indigenous community members are relieved to learn that the local organization, in conjunction with Initiative for Equality (IfE), will work to help them solve the psychological and moral crises within a framework of working towards sustainable peace.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

direct account from one of the meeting participants on the same day

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 Report 2017.m  —  Indigenous rights group receives promises on work, education from Governor of North Kivu Province

DATE(S):

meetings: 21 April 2017,  16 May 2017

vote: 19 May 2017

LOCATION(S):

Goma, capital city of Nord-Kivu Province

SUMMARY:

On 21 April 2017, the local civil society group FDAPID (Foyer de Développement pour l’Autopromotion des Pygmées et Indigènes Défavorisés) was received for an audience with the Governor of North Kivu. This meeting was held within the December 2015 framework on monitoring of rights at work, as guaranteed by Article 36 of DRC’s Constitution. The group, some 20 people including Indigenous leaders, met with the Governor and advocated for the finalization of the draft provincial edict safeguarding and protecting the rights of Indigenous Bambuti and Batwa peoples in North Kivu, and the effective implementation of the recommendations resulting from the Universal Periodic Review of July 2014.  Firm promises made by the Governor included:

  • adopting the draft provincial edict and validating it in the next Council of Ministers, so that the texts can be sent to the Provincial Assembly for adoption by the Deputies and subsequently implemented;
  • granting work opportunities to members of the Indigenous community as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and granting scholarships to young Indigenous students;
  • initiating, in collaboration with FDAPID, income-generating activities for Indigenous women and youth

On 16 May 2017 representatives of FDAPID discussed the draft edict extensively with the Provincial Minister of Justice. The Council of Ministers will be held on 19 May 2017, and the draft edict for Indigenous peoples is on the agenda.

Update: When the vote came up, however, one of the Ministers prevented the adoption of the edict by frightening the Governor that Indigenous people will begin spending the night at his home any time the edict is not implemented. The organizations advocating for the edict will continue to build support going forward.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

report taken from people in the group that met with the Governor; video and photos documenting the event were provided

DOCUMENTS:

* photo dated 21 April 2017

* video posted on facebook at: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10212088542189890&id=1264924674

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.l  —  Some progress for Indigenous voters amidst voter registration breakdown in North Kivu

DATE:

report: 14 March 2017

LOCATION(S):

Province du Nord-Kivu

SUMMARY:

In contrast to the electoral processes of 2006 and 2011, there has been a massive recruitment of indigenous peoples in Province of North Kivu where 40 local trainers were trained by the National Election Commission (CENI10) with the support of a national network in DRC that focuses on promoting the voices and rights of indigenous peoples (DGPA11) and the UNDEF12 under the facilitation of a local Indigenous rights group (FDAPID13).  However, in the run-up to critically important local and national elections in DRC in 2017, local observers of the electoral process in North Kivu have documented some major challenges due to inadequate communications, logistical and financial resources at the enrollment centers, especially affecting Indigenous people:

  • system overwhelmed due to popularity of registering to vote, with insufficient numbers of agents in the enrollment centers;
  • some people do not know their formal origins (territory/sector, village, etc.);
  • some people are not recognized by the system or database, despite the fact that they hold 2011 voter cards;
  • some enrollment centers are experiencing logistical problems (breakdown of the (registration kits?), out of stock of cards and fuels, etc.).

Several violations of human rights and the law have been recorded during this phase:

  • enrollment of children under 15 years, with the potential for unfortunate consequences in regard to the sexual exploitation of minor girls as these voter registration cards have been used to argue that the underage girl was an adult;
  • charging for tokens giving access to the enrollment office (which is free, by law);
  • enrollment of foreigners who present false identity documents and pay money;
  • some people have enrolled two or more times (for fear of losing their card).

The observers recommend:

  • that the CENI grant an additional delay of 2 weeks, enabling the enlistment of all citizens;
  • that the government assume its responsibility by mobilizing the fund for democratic elections in December 2017 in accordance with the agreement of December 31, 2016, as facilitated by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO14), which brokered a deal to see national elections held before the end of 2017

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

report by local observers of electoral process, with special emphasis on Indigenous rights

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________ 

 

 Report 2017.k  —  Crisis of rape, malnutrition, among Indigenous women and children in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

account: 13 March 2017

LOCATION(S):

territories of Nyunzu  and  Kabalo; Province Tanganyika (Ex-Katanga)

SUMMARY:

According to an assessment that has just been carried out by field investigators in the Nyunzu and Kabalo territories of Tanganyika Province, more than 188 women have been identified as having suffered rape. All these victims have physical scars, and 60 suffer from acute trauma. Eighty percent of all these violated women are from the Indigenous Bambuti and Batwa communities. This is the case for two main reasons: first, according to the Bantu2 people, having sexual intercourse with a Bambuti or Batwa woman brings them the chance of wealth; and second, sex with a Bambuti or Batwa woman is an opportunity to acquire a great fetish force during confrontations against an enemy. This is why women in these communities have been raped on a large scale. Until now, none of these women have received any assistance either from the government or from humanitarian or UN agencies. It should be noted that 8 young people under the age of 18 from the Batwa and Bambuti community died after being raped, for lack of adequate support for this category of women. The investigating organization concludes that it is urgent to set up a “listening center” for psychosocial, medical and legal care.

In addition, more than 377 children and 289 women were identified with the signs of acute malnutrition including Kwashiorkor. According to interviews carried out by the investigators in the Indigenous communities, 72 children and 44 women have already died of malnutrition; i.e.  starvation. There is an urgent need for in-depth awareness of malnutrition and a specialized center for caring for them and giving them a nutritious diet.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

a team of field investigators from a local civil society organization was sent out to conduct interviews and gather statistics

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.j  —  Indigenous man tortured and shot in Kirundo Province, Burundi

DATE(S):

account: 11 March 2017

LOCATION(S):

Burundi: town of Gitobe, neighborhood of Ruremba, Kirundo Province

SUMMARY:

Nous avons perdu un autochtone de la Commune GITOBE, colline Ruremba, province KIRUNDO. Il a été torturé  par les habitants de RUTARE et après d’etre torturé, la police a tiré sur lui. Il a rendu son ame sur place.

Que la terre lui soit légère.

Translation: We lost an Indigenous man of the village of Gitobe, Ruremba neighborhood, Kirundo Province. He was tortured by the residents of Rutare, and after being tortured, the police shot him. He has restored his soul.

May the earth be light for him.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

word-of-mouth account from local Indigenous community

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.i  —  Indigenous and non-indigenous communities explain reasons for widespread conflict near border of South Kivu and Tanganyika Provinces; statistics on casualties and displacement

DATE(S):

initial event: July of 2016

report: issued 27 May 2017; covers continuing situation during February, March and April of 2017

LOCATION(S):

Manono, Kabalo, Yunzu, and Kakinga, Tanganyika Province (west of Kalemie); and Force Bendera, located on the border of southern Sud-Kivu Province (Fizi territory in Nyangi and Mapanda) and northern Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

A delegation from a civil society organization, including both non-Indigenous and Bambuti members,  embarked on a mission to compile information on the conflict between Indigenous (Batwa and Bambuti) and non-Indigenous (Bafulero8 and Banyamulenge9) people in the regions of Manono, Kabalo, Yunzu and Kakinga (Tanganyika Province) and Force Bendera (a worker housing site for the now-defunct Kiyimbi Hydro-power Station along the Kyimbi River on the border between Territory of Fizi, Sud-Kivu Province, and Tanganyika Province). The most recent conflict in this area began in July 2016 when a Bambuti hunter by the name of Kabiza from the village Kakinga (42 km from Kalemie) was summarily assassinated in the forest, after being hunted by the Bafulero herders on the grounds of having stolen cows from their pasture. Then, on 25 February 2017, the Bafulero organized raids and killed two Bambutis at Kabuzo, 50 km from Kalemie. Two other Bambutis narrowly escaped being killed. In return, the Bambutis killed a woman named Morina Zemire in the field using arrows, 50 km from Force Bendera. In turn, the Bafulero killed the traditional Chief of the Bambutis in this area, and five members of his family. Conflicts then intensified in almost all the Bambuti villages of Force Bendera, Yunzu and Kisengo.

According to people the investigators talked with, the Bambuti accused the Bafulero, Baluba and Banyamulenge communities of the following:

  • destroying the forest by the uncontrolled logging of trees, and causing the extinction of wild animals due to the seasonal migration of their cattle herds;
  • objectifying the Bambutis and subduing them into slavery in their own land;
  • destroying the environment of the forest on which their daily lives depend (fruit, honey, animal protein, fishing);
  • bringing the Banyamulenge to occupy the entire forest with their pastures; and
  • depriving them of all political, economic, social and cultural privileges.

The Bafulero, Baluba and the Banyamulenge people in turn accused the Bambutis of:

  • claiming complete ownership of the entire forest as an ancestral heritage, which they (the non-indigenous people) consider to be in bad faith;
  • embarrassing themselves in front of persons from the Bafulero, Baluba, or Banyamulenge communities;
  • stealing the Bafulero and Banyamulenge cattle to use as food in replacement for game that has become rare in the forest;
  • subscribing to animistic values and beliefs;
  • sowing jealousy and an inferiority complex;
  • lacking a spirit of initiative and entrepreneurship;
  • being underdeveloped intellectually; and
  • plundering property and setting fire to dwellings.

The consequences of this conflict have included killings, plundering of property and  cattle, burning of homes, and massive displacement of the population as follows:

Sites Estimates of Displaced Persons
1.      MISISI 560
2.      NYANGI 800
3.      NGALULA 600
4.      TULONGE 300
5.      LUBICHAKO 200
6.      MUSAKAHITE 350
7.      MAPENDA 400
8.      LAMBO KATENGA 360
9.      LUKOLO 260
10.  KALONDA KIBUYU 280
TOTAL 4010


The number of people killed in the vicinity of Force Bendera is estimated at 20, including 13 Bambutis and 7 Bantus2; with more than 65 wounded. Isolated cases are not included in this number.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION: 

These data were gathered on a fact-finding mission carried out by a local civil society group using their own funds and a donated vehicle. They said: “Communicating with the Bambuti community was not easy, but we did it with the help of our members who are part of this community; the contact was made easier by those colleagues who were part of the mission. During our mission, we visited all the neighboring villages that hosted the displaced and we listed them as mentioned in the report. These displaced people are suffering from diarrhea, malaria, no food, others do not have clothes, kitchen utensils, etc. These displaced persons are easily spotted in these host villages because they lead a miserable life. The number of people hosted was given to us by the heads of the host villages whenever we arrived in a village.”

DOCUMENTS:

* a set of photos documenting the injuries that were witnessed by the investigators – please be forewarned before viewing that these photos are extremely brutal to the point of traumatizing; please do not view the photos unless you have a specific need to do so. Photos available only by request to info@initiativeforequality.org.

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.h  —  Indigenous community calls on provincial Minister of Land and Property Affairs for North Kivu to stop land grab

DATE(S):

letters: 20 February 2017 and 28 February 2017

account: 10 March 2017

LOCATION(S):

Quartier Mugunga, Avenue  Lushagala, Commune de Karisimbi, Province du Nord-Kivu

SUMMARY:

In a letter dated 20 February 2017 to the Provincial Minister of Land and Property Affairs, Nord Kivu Province, Mupepa Muhindo, a Bambuti leader representing his community, explains the situation of land grabs and the Mayor’s harmful decision that Indigenous people should cease all activities on these lands. (Note that this is the same man who was arrested on 31 January 2017 – see report 2017.f.) Non-indigenous individuals are attempting to take property away from the Indigenous people of the Mugunga neighborhood, town of Karisimbi, on the periphery of Goma, capitol of the Province of Nord-Kivu in DRC. The Mayor of the town is supporting the land grab. Mupepa Muhindo says that land conflicts make community relationships irritating to the point of forgetting the basic principles for a tranquil and peaceful society, and he calls for action on the problem by the Provincial Minister of Land and Property Affairs. In response, the Mayor of Karisimbi, Brigitte Mbayiki Semivumbi, sends a letter complaining in disparaging terms about the difficulties of living with Indigenous people (whom she calls “invaders”), and requests the Minister of the Interior, Nord-Kivu Province, to intervene in the situation.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

copy of letter from leader of the Indigenous community experiencing the land grabs; copy of letter from Mayor of Karisimbi requesting the Provincial Minister of the Interior, Nord-Kivu Province, to intervene in the situation

DOCUMENTS:

* letter from Mupepa Muhindo to Provincial Minister of Land and Property Affairs, Nord Kivu Province

* formal response from the Mayor of Karisimbi to Minister of the Interior, Nord-Kivu Province

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.g  —  Reconciliation forum in Tanganyika Province lacks adequate representation by Indigenous leaders; some 500,000 people displaced

DATE(S):

22 February 2017

LOCATION(S):

Kalemie, Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

News report (translated from French): “The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Security, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary arrived in Kalemie, capital of the Province of Tanganyika, on 22 February 2017  to open a forum of reconciliation between “Pygmies and Bantu2” (Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples). These communities have been in conflict for years. The Ministry of the Interior estimates that some 500,000 people have been displaced in the affected territories, nearly 300,000 houses have been burnt down, and 400,000 schools have been destroyed over the past 4 years in Tanganyika Province. The Government of the Republic, through the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Security, is working to bring delegates of two communities to the table to resolve disagreements and restore a lasting peace.”

According to a civil society organization which attended this forum, it will not result in the desired outcomes because neither the leadership of the Indigenous communities (e.g. Nyumbaisha and Sept Spepta, political leaders in Nyunzu and Manono) nor the Bantu Luba peoples of Nyunzu, Manono and Kabalo were invited to participate. Consequently, at the opening of this forum, Indigenous militias attacked villages between 25 km and 60 km from Kalemie to Nyunzu and Bendera. These attacks once again led to population displacement towards Kalemie.

NOTE: In May 2017, Minister of the Interior and Security, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the man who staged these ineffective negotiations, was sanctioned by the EU for human rights violations: see http://www.mediacongo.net/article-actualite-26873.html

a unknown spelling

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

News reports from Actualite and MediaCongo (national online news sources in DRC); first-hand account from civil society group present at the forum

https://actualite.cd/2017/02/22/shadary-tanganyika-reconcilier-bantu-pygmees/

http://www.mediacongo.net/article-actualite-26873.html

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.f  —  Indigenous activist against land grabs arrested, then released, in North Kivu Province

DATE(S):

arrested: 28 January 2017

released: 02 February 2017

LOCATION(S):

community at issue is Quartier Mugunga, Avenue  Lushagala, Commune de Karisimbi, Province du Nord-Kivu;

jail is in Goma, Nord-Kivu

SUMMARY:

Mupepa Kakara Muhindo, a Bambuti leader representing his community in a land grab case, was arrested on 28 January 2017 and held with a high ($700) bail. A local civil society group worked with attorneys to get him released, and issued a statement deploring the manipulation of the Congolese justice system by people who are trying to take the Indigenous people’s land, and for whom Mupepa represents an obstacle to their plans. Mupepa was subsequently released on 02 February 2017, when the court lowered his bail to $200.  [Note that the court document contains an incorrect date for his arrest.]

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

direct account from civil society organization involved in obtaining his release; their dates of arrest and release differ from dates on court document

DOCUMENTS:

* photo of Muhindo Mupepa in jail

* copy of court order releasing him

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.e  —  600 Indigenous people slaughtered near Moba (Tanganyika Province) with government complicity and cover-up; rape victims dying

DATE(S):

massacre: 14 January 2017  (news report dates it as 13 January 2017)

accounts: multiple accounts from 17 January 2017 through June 2017

article: 16 January 2017

LOCATION(S):

Moba, Kalemie; Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

On the night of 14 January 2017, there was a nighttime attack by BaTabwa (Bantu2 people) against Indigenous people (Batwa and Bambuti) in the locality of Moba, Kalemie. More than 600 Indigenous people were slaughtered. During the attack, at least 1600 women and girls were raped by BaTabwa forces, and are being cared for using traditional medicines because the victims are in the displacement zone which has no health centers. More than 40 of the women and girls who were raped are on the verge of death, and three – aged 13, 12 and 15 years old – have already died (on 20 and 21 January 2017).

Well-placed sources in the region say that the BaTabwa and BaLuba people are intent on exterminating the Batwa and Bambuti, with the complicity of the DRC national government. According to these sources, the DRC government is determined to prevent word of this massacre from becoming known internationally, while MONUSCO (the UN mission charged with ending the conflicts in DRC) is aware of the information but does nothing.

An inadequate news report, right after the 14 January 2017 massacre reported above, says that only 24 people died during the week in question. According to the report [translated into English]: “In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the conflict between the Pygmy3 and Bantu communities in the Tanganyika district is not diminishing in intensity. Over the last six months, clashes have erupted regularly between the members of these groups and the UN Joint Human Rights Office has already counted 158 dead, 250 wounded, thousands displaced and dozens of cases of women raped. In the last week alone, 24 people were killed, mostly women. Since that weekend, the Congolese armed forces have deployed reinforcements in the territory of Moba, a new epicenter of the crisis between the Pygmies of the Twa ethnic group and the Bantu populations. Last week was marked by a renewal of extreme violence. On 13 January, clashes took place in the Maseba area, 25 kilometers from the city of Moba. Four villages were partially or totally burned down and the population fled to Moba. In total, 24 people – four Bantus and twenty Pygmies – lost their lives in one week. They are mainly women. The UN Office for Human Rights is also concerned about the increase in violence suffered in recent months by women, including sexual violence. The clashes resulted in a further displacement of the population. In Moba, the Twa would have left the city. Local authorities are attempting to ease the explosive situation, but according to humanitarians, they are confronted with the mistrust of the two communities in conflict. In Kinshasa, the United Nations Mission is concerned. According to RFI sources, UN Deputy Special Representative David Gressly could visit the province mid-week.”

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

Informants checked this information thoroughly with multiple local sources, including provincial government officials, people on the ground who are prepared to accompany any serious investigation of the massacre, and an officer of FARDC6 who was on the ground and confirmed the massacre. There was also an inadequate news article: http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20170116-rdc-lourd-bilan-affrontements-entre-pygmees-bantous-tanganyika

DOCUMENTS:

* three photos dated April 2017, with (translated) comment: “Here are photos of how the PA (Pygmy3) hut burned in NYUNZU territory. And here are the armed groups of the Batabwa peoples who hunted them with firearms.”  [NOTE: the Batabwa people referred to here are non-Indigenous Bantus, not Indigenous Batwa.]

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.d  —  Indigenous youth (babysitters, sheep herders, domestic workers) killed; teens conscripted as spies; Bambuti say they are being “hunted”  

DATE:

massacre: 09 January 2017

meeting: 08 May 2017

LOCATION(S):

Manono Territory; Kabalo Territory; 40 km from Nyunzu and Kabalo, ex-Katanga (i.e. Tanganyika) Province

SUMMARY:

On 09 January 2017, people from the Baluba community killed many Indigenous youth who were working for them, including babysitters, sheep herders and domestic workers. This took place 40 km from Nyunzu and Kabalo in the province of Katanga [i.e. Tanganyika]. The context was ongoing attacks between the Indigenous and Baluba people in the two territories of Manono and Kabalo. Many people had been killed or wounded, and many houses burned. In the territory of Nyunzu, 40 km away, in the localities of Pweto and Kabwelo, the massacre of Indigenous teens was committed by the Baluba because during the ongoing conflict, all teenage Bambuti boys and girls (under age 18) were enlisted (by both sides) and forced to function as spies. Indigenous leaders are calling for a demobilization program for these young people, and their reintegration at all levels. In this zone (Nyunzu and Kongolo) there is a lull now, despite the past incidents.

Later, on 08  May 2017, the FARDC6 held a meeting in Moba in response to demands by the Indigenous communities to stop the reprisal killings. At this meeting, Indigenous leaders said that it is the Bantu2 people who often begin the attacks, and that the Baluba community is hunting them (the Bambutis). They asked the government to give them 80,000FC, equivalent to $50 for each household, for the reconstruction of their houses burned during the clashes. See video clip.

METHODS:

Information came from local on-the-ground investigators (in January), several discussions with a provincial government official, and from the 08 May 2017 meeting between officials of the FARDC (DRC’s national armed forces) and the Bambuti people, co-hosted by MONUSCO; we also have photos of several injured people, and a video statement by a Bambuti leader outside the 08 May meeting.

DOCUMENTS:

* two photos of injured Bambuti people showing severity & types of injuries, and one photo of Bambutis with bows & arrows

* video of Bambuti man people speaking about the situation outside the 08 May 2017 meeting at Moba; he says that it is the Bantu Baluba people who often begin the attacks, and that the Baluba community is hunting them (the Bambutis). The Bambutis are asking the government to give them 80,000 FC, equivalent to $50 for each household, for the reconstruction of their houses burned during the clashes.

 ________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.c  —  Batwa man tortured to death in prison in Rutshuru, North Kivu Province

DATE(S):

event: approximately 30-31 January 2017

LOCATION(S):

Territory of Rutshuru, about 70 km from Goma, Nord-Kivu Province

SUMMARY:

On 30 January 2017 an Indigenous Batwa man named Barigira Rugayu, of Burai (Territory of Rutshuru, about 70 km from Goma in the Province of North Kivu) died while in prison. According to sources close to the deceased, his death was caused by torture in the Rutshuru District Prison by a police officer or member of the LNI (Légion Nationale d’Intervention). When Colonel Kilundu of the prison was contacted by telephone, he justified the death as food poisoning, and said that Barigira died in the hospital. However, the family of the victim had been searching for him throughout the prisons for more than 48 hours, and it was not until Tuesday, 31 January that the body was found at the morgue of Rutshuru General Hospital. Family members and supporters have demanded an autopsy to document the cause of death.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

accounts by family members contrasted with the official account from the prison colonel

http://minorityvoices.org/news.php/en/5213/

DOCUMENTS:

* audio clip of telephone conversation between civil society advocate and Colonel Kilundu of the prison

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.b  —  Starvation and Kwashiorkor strike Indigenous people in provinces across Burundi

DATE(S):

meeting: 24 January 2017 (describes ongoing situation)

LOCATION(S):

Burundi: the most affected provinces are Bubanza, Makamba, Kirundo, Muyinga, Karusi, Ruyigi, Bururi, Bujumbura Rural, Mwaro, and parts of Cibitoke, Kayanza and Ngazi

SUMMARY:

After the government’s declaration that Burundi is in phase four of a famine, the Batwa people are warning of starvation, especially in Batwa families. Thus far, 25 children, 11 men and 5 women have died in the famine in a single northern region. A hundred children are suffering from Kwashiorkor (a disease of food inadequacy). The most affected provinces are: Bubanza, Makamba, Kirundo, Muyinga, Karusi, Ruyigi, Bururi, Bujumbura Rural, Mwaro, parts of Cibitoke, Kayanza and Ngazi. If nothing is done, this famine will cause major harm to the Batwa of Burundi.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

verbal reports at a meeting of Batwa people from 5 regions across Burundi, held on 24 January 2017

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2017.a  —  DRC national government has invited “sages” of Katanga region to discuss resolution of conflict between Indigenous and Bantu people

DATE(S):

news report: 08 January 2017

LOCATION(S):

region of Katanga (i.e. Tanganyika Province)

SUMMARY:

RTNC radio is reporting as of 08 January 2017 that the national government has invited the “sages” of the Katanga region (i.e.  Tanganyika Province) to discuss how to resolve the conflicts between the Bantu2 and the Indigenous people in this region. It appears that the Bambuti will not be involved; only “sages” (men of stature in the government).

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

account of news report on RTNC Radio7

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________ 

 

Report 2016.i  —  DRC national police and armed forces clash with Batwa in Manono Territory, Tanganyika Province; 5 dead, 181 injured, many Batwa displaced

DATE(S):

event: 20 December 2016

accounts: 21 December 2016 and 07 January 2017

LOCATION(S):

Manono Territory, ex-Katanga (i.e. Tanganyika) Province

SUMMARY:

On 21 December 2016 it was reported that the previous day (20 December 2016), around 4 am, there were clashes between Batwa and the Congolese National Police in conjunction with the FARDC (national armed forces), in the province of ex-Katanga (Tanganyika), Territory of Manono. There were several people dead and wounded according to the administrator of this territory. Many people fled the clashes to other places and may still be safe. According to other sources, including hospitals, there were 5 dead and 98 wounded; this is the provisional casualty list from this confrontation. The Indigenous Batwa people have fled far from the communities surrounding the center of Manono territory, taking their wounded who are being cared for by traditional medicines.

On 07 January 2017 (two and a half weeks later), the provincial government of Katanga now reports over Radio Okapi that there were 181 people wounded for the two communities in the conflict on 20 December 2016, just in the territory of Manono alone. The provincial government says it will take care of all the wounded.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

The report was compiled from a variety of sources including the administrator of Manono Territory, local hospitals, individuals in touch with the affected Batwa communities, and Radio Okapi (the UN’s news source).

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________ 

 

Report 2016.h  —  Indigenous casualties for November, December estimated at 449 deaths, 3120 homes burned, thousands displaced in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

November and December of 2016

LOCATION(S):

Nyunzu, Kabalo, Manono, and Kongolo in Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

Indigenous peoples are currently the victims of conflicts of all kinds in DR Congo. Such is the case of the Province of Tanganyika (ex-Katanga), where the conflict between the Bantus2 (Luba) and the Indigenous Batwa and Bambuti has caused several cases of human rights violations (killings, burned houses, forced population displacement, etc.). This conflict is more pronounced in the four territories of Nyunzu, Kabalo, Manono and Kongolo. The casualties estimated for November and December 2016 in both camps (Indigenous/Bambuti and Bantu/Luba), according to some sources, stand at 449 dead, 273 seriously wounded, 3120 homes burned and thousands of displaced people.

DATA PROVIDED    

NO TERRITORIES DEATHS INJURED ETHNICITY TIME PERIOD OBSERVATION
1 Nyunzu 162 73 Bambuti Nov and Dec 2016 for the Bambuti people, these are estimated numbers
2 Kabalo 97 103
3 Manono 148 69
4 Kongolo 42 28
TERRITORIES BATWA  HOUSES BURNED – ESTIMATES  
Nyunzu 170  
Kabalo 150  
Manono 2500  
Kongolo 300  
                 


SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

The numbers of casualties were provided by individuals conducting on-the-ground surveys in the region; data were “furnished by Pygmy3 leaders”

DOCUMENTS:

* not shown to protect sources

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2016.fg  —  Indigenous population fights back; report indicate 30 killed near Muswaki, Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

three events: 20, 21 and 23 November 2016

articles: 20 November 2016; 24 November 2016

LOCATION(S):

in the area of Muswaki, along the rail line 70 km west of Kalemie, Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

First article: The Pygmies killed three people and wounded four others in an attack on Sunday (November 20th) in Muswaki, 70 km west of Kalemie, Tanganyika Province. The Indigenous militia also burned houses in this part of the country. The attack by the militia led to the displacement of inhabitants in the area, who took advantage of the passage of the SNCC train from Kindu to Kalemie. “The arrows used by this militia are for the most part poisoned. Any tardy medical intervention is often fatal for the victims,” according to doctor Junior Tchimena at the hospital in Kabalo.

Second article: Approximately 30 people, including several children, were killed in a new attack attributed to “indigenous-pygmy3 populations” in the Muswaki area west of Kalemie (Tanganyika Province). The massacre was confirmed by several residents fleeing the troubled area. This report is likely to be revised upwards, say the survivors, who say several other injured victims have fled into the bush with poisoned arrows in their bodies. MONUSCO5 spokesman Félix Prosper Basse, said the situation is “more than worrying” because of the conflict between the non-Indigenous Luba and the Indigenous Batwa communities in the triangle formed by locations  Mitwaba – Manono – Pweto. He praised “all the efforts made by the provincial authorities, local authorities, customary and religious authorities, but also MONUSCO, to carry out actions that allow peaceful coexistence between these two communities, which for a long time have been making war. ” The Batwa – Luba conflict also resulted in another attack in Nyemba on 21 November against a UNHCR – MONUSCO convoy. During this attack, attributed to the Luba armed elements, two Benin blue helmets [UN troops from Benin] were wounded by arrows.

[NOTE: to understand the context for this attack, see report 2016.h from this same region, showing the deaths of more than 400 Indigenous people during the months of November and December 2016; see also report 2016.i reporting government involvement in some of the killings.]

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

  1. News report based on interviews with several witnesses and a doctor at the nearby hospital; published by Radio Okapi, the UN’s news station in DRC

http://www.radiookapi.net/2016/11/20/actualite/securite/tanganyika-3-morts-dans-une-attaque-des-pygmees-muswaki

  1. News report based on interviews with multiple involved parties and quoting a MONUSCO spokesperson; published by Radio Okapi, the UN’s news station in DRC

http://www.radiookapi.net/2016/11/24/actualite/securite/rdc-30-morts-dans-une-nouvelle-attaque-attribuee-aux-pygmees-muswaki

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________ 

 

Report 2016.d  —  Indigenous people ask governor of Nord-Kivu Province to intervene in land grab, death threats

DATE(S):

Original complaint: 25 November 2014

Sentencing: 03 October 2016

Open Letter: dated 10 October 2016

LOCATION(S):

Buabo, in Buabo Groupement, Territory of Masisi, Nord-Kivu Province

SUMMARY:

An Open Letter was sent to the Governor of North Kivu Province in Goma, requesting that he ask the Court of Peace of Masisi to move urgently on the issue of land grabs in Buabo, which has recently resulted in death threats against some Indigenous leaders of Buabo following their activism on this matter. The Governor is also asked to avoid taking advantage of the extreme vulnerability of Indigenous peoples or infringing on their fundamental rights by pronouncing judgments based on the demands of the most well-to-do and influential members of the community.

The background to this request is that, beginning in 25 November 2014 ,  Indigenous peoples of Buabo brought the land conflict to the mediators of a local civil society group and the local Property Sub-Coordination Agency in Masisi, which organized several mediation sessions. Recommendations and the information-gathering process resulting from these sessions were never implemented, which led the Ombudsmen to refer this land dispute to the Masisi Court of Peace on 28 September 2015. Then, on 03 October 2016, two Indigenous leaders of the attempt to obtain justice (Munubo Muhima Furaha and Tamira Muyumbu Bayibika) were sentenced to 6 months jail and fined in an amount they cannot pay.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

This Open Letter was prepared by people who have been closely involved in the legal and social dimensions of this issue since it began in 2014, and was signed by 19 people representing Batwa/Bambuti communities across Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu.

DOCUMENTS:

* copy of Open Letter with a photo of all the signatures

* jpg of the court document, notice of hearing (appeal)

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2016.c  —  78 deaths, over 400 displaced persons following clashes between Indigenous and Bantu communities in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

data collected: early September 2016

report: 20 September 2016

LOCATION(S):

Territories of Yuzu, Kabalo, Manono and Kongolo, Tanganyika Province (all west of Kalemie)

SUMMARY:

In early September 2016, a local NGO sent a staff person to investigate clashes between the Indigenous Bambuti minority and the Bantu2 Bahemba majority in the territories of Yunzu, Kabalo, Manono and Kongolo, in Tanganyika Province west of Kalemie. The accounting of casualties is estimated at:

Territories Deaths Displaced
Yunzu 20 130
Kabalo 20 150
Manono 25 108
Kongolo 13 40
TOTAL 78 428


The 428 displaced persons, mostly Bantu (Balubas), are now living outside, their houses having been burned. The weapons used during these clashes include arrows, spears, machetes, and tree branches.  The reason given for these confrontations is that the Bambuti consider themselves threatened, despised and even objectified by their Bantu neighbors. According to the investigators, the majority of the Bambuti forests are now controlled by the Bantu, including mining lands. The Bambuti live from their forests by gathering fruit, honey and fish and hunting game, so when they are deprived of the forest, their lives are essentially over. Hence, they are determined to continue their way of life, although often oppressed by the Bantu through confrontations.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

information was gathered and report prepared by local civil society individuals who undertook an on-the-ground investigation in the conflict zone

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2016.b  —  Clashes between Indigenous and Bantu communities result in 3 deaths in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

event: 02 September 2016

article: 03 September 2016

LOCATION(S):

Cotanga, Territory of Nyunzu, Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

Clashes between members of the Batwa and Bantu2 communities have taken place over the past three days in the territory of Nyunzu (Tanganyika Province). Some sources report several deaths but this record has not been confirmed by any official source. The treasurer of an NGO in Mukwaka, 25 km from Nyunzu, said a man was killed by an Indigenous militia on Friday (September 2). Within the Indigenous community, there are two deaths registered since the beginning of these clashes.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

News report based on interviews with multiple involved parties; published by Radio Okapi4

http://www.radiookapi.net/2016/09/03/actualite/securite/tanganyika-reprise-des-affrontements-entre-pygmees-et-bantous

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________ 

 

Report 2016.a  —  Indigenous man tortured to death by FARDC soldier in Nord-Kivu Province; autopsy demanded

DATE(S):

26 March 2016

LOCATION(S):

village Makabya; Nyabiondo, Territory of Masisi, Nord-Kivu Province

SUMMARY:

On 26 March 2016, a 25-year-old Indigenous man named Matungulu Maroyi, from the Makabya camp, died in Nyabiondo, leaving behind a wife and two children. The man died immediately after being tortured by Olimo Bienvenu, a member of the FARDC6, 813th Regiment. Sources indicate that the victim refused to carry the soldier’s parcel, which was the reason given for the torture that led to his death. Later, in March of 2017, the Military Tribunal finally moved forward to subpoena information from the hospital on the nature of the victim’s injuries, in pursuit of a case against the perpetrator.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

This report was provided by a local civil society organization which is assisting the deceased man’s family in pursuing charges against the perpetrator. See copy of document from the Military Court (“Requisition for Interpreters, translators, experts and doctors”) dated 01 March 2017. This is a formal legal document from the military court of Nord-Kivu, requesting help from a doctor at the hospital in the case of a Batwa man who died of torture a year previous (finally following up).

DOCUMENTS:

* official document from the Military Court (“Requisition for Interpreters, translators, experts and doctors”) dated 01 March 2017

 ________________________________________________________________


Report 2015-17.a  —  Kalehe Peace Tribunal takes up case of land grab from Indigenous group in Sud-Kivu Province

DATE(S):

abuses: from 2015 through present

hearings: on 11-24 April 2017

LOCATION(S):

events: Tulabihao, village of Mafuo, groupement of Kalima, Chefferie of Buhavu, Territory of Kalehe, Sud-Kivu Province

court case: Bunyakiri, Territory of Kalehe, Sud-Kivu Province

SUMMARY:

On 11 through 24 April 2017, the Kalehe Peace Tribunal (a formal, recognized court) in Bunyakiri took up the case of a small group of Indigenous families whose ancestral lands were being forcibly taken by a non-Indigenous man. Since it is a large primary forest, the neighbor who is attempting to retain the land has begun to cut trees for the sale of timber. This land grab took place in the village of Tulabihao, village of Mafuo, groupement of Kalima, Chefferie of Buhavu, Territory of Kalehe, Sud-Kivu Province. The Indigenous litigants are being given assistance in the court case by two civil society organizations working in the region: Réseau Congolais des Forestiers de la RDC (RCF-RD Congo) and Action pour la Protection de la Nature (APRONA).

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

report was submitted by a witness to the tribunal proceedings

DOCUMENTS:

* three photos taken at the Kalehe Peace Tribunal during the case

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2015.c  —  Committee for conflict resolution between Indigenous and Bantu communities set up in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

event: 24 September 2015

article: 25 September 2015

follow-up account: 23 June 2017

LOCATION(S):

Mukebo, 160 km from Manono, in Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

A committee for the resolution of conflict between Indigenous (Batwa) and Bantu2 communities was set up on Thursday 24 September in Mukebo, 160 km from Manono. It is made up of 14 members chosen by the two communities in conflict to revive intercommunity dialogue. According to its president, this commission composed of 7 Batwa and 7 Bantu will be responsible for promoting dialogue in order to facilitate reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. The commission is being set up while the populations who have fled the atrocities relating to this conflict are demanding more security in their villages of origin. The implementation of this dispute resolution committee was facilitated by MONUSCO (a part of the UN).

According to an account by a local individual who follows this situation, “According to the information we currently have, there is no operational committee in this region, it was only proposals that resulted in nothing. And after these proposals, there were still other attacks perpetrated by Baluba, FARDC6, and Batabwa against the [Indigenous] Batwa.”

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

News report published by Radio Okapi, MONUSCO’s news station in DRC; the UN’s MONUSCO is the agency helping to set up this committee.

http://www.radiookapi.net/2015/09/25/actualite/societe/tanganyika-installation-dune-commission-de-resolution-du-conflit-entre

Additional information from involved source on the ground in June 2017.

DOCUMENTS:

none

 ________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2015.a  —  Conflict between Batwa and Bantu in Nyunzu  Territory, Katanga (now Tanganyika) Province, kills some 200 in first half of 2015

DATE(S):

events: from January through September of 2015; in particular, in June 2015

peace committee set up: 19 September 2015

article: 22 September 2015

LOCATION(S):

(1) village of Kitutwa in the territory of Manono; (2) territory of Nyunzu, in northern Katanga Province (now known as Tanganyika Province)

SUMMARY:

The last clash between Bantu2 and Batwa last June [i.e. June 2015] killed four people in the village of Kitutwa in the territory of Manono. This attack was said to have occurred in retaliation for the incursions of the Indigenous peoples, perpetrated in the Bantu villages surrounding the Bakongolo chiefdom. In the neighboring territory of Nyunzu, still in northern Katanga [i.e. now in Tanganyika Province], the inter-communal conflict between Batwa and Bantu has already killed about two hundred people, some 60 women raped and 113 villages burned since January 2015. This article also reports on the new peace committee set up (see Report 2015.c).

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

News report published by Radio Okapi, MONUSCO’s news station in DRC

http://www.radiookapi.net/2015/09/22/actualite/societe/tanganyika-installation-des-comites-de-paix-entre-bantous-et-pygmees

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2014-17.a  —  Bambuti in Beni Territory, Nord-Kivu Province, subjected to human rights violations by Ugandan rebels

DATE(S):

2014 – present

LOCATION(S):

Beni Territory, Nord-Kivu  Province

SUMMARY:

Bambuti peoples in the territory of Beni, Nord-Kivu Province, have been subjected to grave human rights violations by Ugandan rebels (the ADF Nalu), who have been engaged in killings, rapes, kidnapping, extortion, sexual slavery, and burning of houses from 2014 through to the present.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

summary statement from civil society project coordinator who has advocated for Indigenous people’s well-being for many years, in and around Beni

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2014.a  —  Legislation on Indigenous peoples pending in DR Congo

DATE(S):

event: June 2014

account: 05 April 2017

account: 27 June 2017

LOCATION(S):

Kinshasa (national legislation)

SUMMARY:

In June of 2014, several civil society organizations participated in a review (held in Kinshasa) of proposed legislation concerning Indigenous peoples in DRC. The proposed law was listed on the calendar of last year’s national parliamentary session but was not discussed. It should be taken up this year (2017).

Update as of June 2017:  The parliamentary session is continuing in Kinshasa, but the March session closed without the proposal being submitted for debate, although it was on the calendar. The political context of the country and the situations in Tanganyika and Kasai Provinces constitute major challenges for completion of the process.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

information from participant in the process

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

Report 2013-16.a  —  Lubumbashi Court opens “crimes of genocide” case against 34 in conflict between Bantus and Indigenous peoples in Tanganyika Province

DATE(S):

events: 2013 through 2015; particularly 30 April 2015 and 12 August 2015;  28 June 2016

articles: 13 August 2015; 29 June 2016

LOCATION(S):

events: territories of Kalemie, Nyunzu and Manono; Tanganyika1 Province

court case: Lubumbashi, Tanganyika Province

SUMMARY:

The Lubumbashi Court of Appeals has opened a case against 34 individuals accused of “crimes of genocide” in the inter-communal conflict between Bantus2 and Pygmies3 since 2013 in the new province of Tanganyika (ex-Katanga). The defendants, who include both Indigenous Batwa and Bantu Luba individuals, are accused of murder, rape, house burning and “crimes of genocide”. This is the first time a court has raised charges of genocide, which is normally reserved for the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to a press release from the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), published on 11 August, “The UN has reported [since the beginning of the conflict in 2013] hundreds of civilians killed, dozens of razed villages, and tens of thousands displaced from their native village”. The HRW statement also denounces events of 30 April 2015, when Luba fighters attacked a camp for displaced people [presumably Indigenous] outside the city of Nyunzu.

From later article (29 June 2016): The trial of the thirty-two Pygmies and Bantus prosecuted by the Congolese justice system for the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity resumed Tuesday June 28 in the prison of the Kasapa in Lubumbashi. They are accused of crimes allegedly committed during the conflict between the two communities in the territories of Kabalo and Manono (Tanganyika Province) since 2013. For the first time since the opening of the trial in 2014, three victims participated in the hearing, including a “chief of Pygmy3 village”, a young Luba girl and a woman who had been raped.

SOURCES AND VERIFICATION:

Information provided by a news article published by Radio Okapi4, based on UN reports and on a statement issued by Human Rights Watch (which quotes MONUSCO5)

http://www.radiookapi.net/actualite/2015/08/13/conflit-luba-twa-au-tanganyika-ouverture-dun-proces-contre-34-personnes

http://www.radiookapi.net/2016/06/29/actualite/justice/lubumbashi-reprise-du-proces-de-32-pygmees-et-bantous-accuses-de

DOCUMENTS:

none

________________________________________________________________

 

FOOTNOTES                                                                                    

1 Tanganyika Province is a part of the old Katanga Province, and is often referred to as ex-Katanga Province; the name change took place in 2015

2Bantu” refers to a broad grouping of African ethnic groups that migrated into the central African region over the centuries; it does not include the Indigenous Batwa and Bambuti people.

3 Pygmy” is an old term still in frequent use in the DRC to refer to the Indigenous groups considered to be the original inhabitants of this region of Africa, including the Batwa, Bambuti, Efe, Aka, and related ethnic groups. The term “Pygmy” is considered by some to be pejorative, while others are trying to reclaim the term. Activists in French-speaking parts of DRC generally refer to them as Peuples Autochtones (Aboriginal Peoples), or simply PA. We generally refer to these people as Batwa or Bambuti, or “Indigenous”. However, the term “Pygmy” is sometimes used when quoting from an article or report which used the word.

4 Radio Okapi is a UN-sponsored news source, affiliated with MONUSCO in DRC

5 MONUSCO is Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en République Démocratique du Congo (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), a United Nations peacekeeping force in the DRC

6 FARDC is Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo, DRC’s armed forces

7 RTNC is  Radio-Télévision Nationale Congolaise

8 Bafulero and Bafuliru are two different spellings for the same ethnic group

9 The  Banyamulenge people have themselves been the subject of recent massacres (unrelated to Indigenous people) which they call “genocide” – raising the question of how trauma is experienced, remembered, and reenacted http://www.gatumbasurvivors.org/massacre/

10  CENI is Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante (National Election Commission)

11  DGPA is Dynamique des Groupes des Peuples Autochtones, a national network in DRC that focuses on promoting the voices and rights of indigenous peoples

12  UNDEF is United Nations Democracy Fund

13  FDAPID is Foyer de Développement pour l’Autopromotion des Pygmées et Indigènes Défavorisés, a local civil society group

14 CENCO is National Episcopal Conference of Congo, which brokered a deal to see national elections held before the end of 2017

15 The narrative of a cow being killed by Indigenous people, thus precipitating a crisis with Bantu or other non-Indigenous herders,  is a common one. This situation is predictable, given the current dire circumstances of the Batwa and Bambuti, who formerly were able to depend on hunting in their traditional forest lands, contrasted with the Bantu herders’ practice of moving their cattle from place to place during the year.

16 OCHA is the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

17 BCNUDH is Bureau Conjoint des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme (Joint United Nations Office on Human Rights), with headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC

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For further information, contact:

Deborah S. Rogers, President
Initiative for Equality (IfE)
info@initiativeforequality.org

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