Political will creates new ground for indigenous peoples’ rights

On a recent mission to the Republic of Congo, Morse Flores, ILO staff member and officer for the UN Indigenous Peoples Partnership (UNIPP) recorded his impressions of a joint UN project to help raise awareness of indigenous peoples’ rights. The purpose of Morse’s mission was to meet with key partners of UNIPP and see first hand the reality on the ground with a view to developing the joint UN project further. In 2011, the government of the Republic of Congo adopted Law No. 5-2011 on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Populations, becoming the first African country to adopt a specific law on indigenous peoples. He watches indigenous leaders and members of the Congolese government in a parliamentary debate to discuss the development of a national law on indigenous peoples’ rights and the possible ratification of the ILO’s Convention on indigenous and tribal peoples, Convention 169. Morse also visits a remote community of the Babongo people who live in extreme poverty, suffer multiple forms of discrimination and are excluded from access to basic social services.

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