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Upcoming visit to the Republic of the Congo, (14-24 October 2019)


Background note

The United Nations Special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, was invited by the Government of the Republic of Congo from 14 to 24 October 2019 to study the situation of indigenous peoples in the country. This is the second visit of the mandate to the Republic of Congo since 2010.

Context and objectives of the visit

Country visits are an essential means to obtain direct and first-hand information, and to assess positive developments as well as challenges and gaps in the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples. They allow for assessment of the human rights situation and facilitate an intensive dialogue with all relevant State authorities, both at national and local levels of government. Country visits also allow for contact with and information gathering from victims and their relatives, persons affected by policy decisions, national human rights institutions, members of civil society, community organisations, academia, international cooperation and international non-governmental organisations and UN agencies and entities.

All official visits are conducted in line with Human Rights Council resolution 5/2, entitled “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate- holders of the Human Rights Council”, in particular article 11, and with the Terms of Reference for Fact Finding mission. The Code of Conduct is provided together with this note for ease of reference.

The objective of the visit is to identify good practices and challenges to the realization of the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples included in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).

The Special rapporteur will pay particular attention to national efforts to implement the National Law No. 5-2011 on the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples, adopted on 25 February 2011, and its implementing decrees. She will observe, inter alia, the following issues: the situation of indigenous women, education, access to land and resources, environmental protection, indigenous justice and other forms of self-governance, participation to- and free, prior and informed consent in- decisions or projects that affect indigenous peoples or their resources. She will also address the issue of indigenous peoples in isolation and the impact of economic and development projects or conservation activities on indigenous peoples.

This visit also follows up on the conclusions and recommendations made during the visit of her predecessor, Mr. James Anaya in 2010. The report  of this previous visit is available on the Special rapporteur's website (A/HRC/18/35/Add.5.)

Meetings and other activities during the visit

The Special rapporteur will meet with representatives and organizations from indigenous communities as well as other national and local stakeholders involved in the defence and promotion of the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, including government officials, national human rights organizations, civil society organizations and United Nations representatives.

Formal meetings at all levels of government are coordinated by central authorities, while other meetings are prepared by the special rapporteur with the support of the United Nations country team in the field.

The Special rapporteur will conduct field visits and spend time outside the capital to better understand the situation of indigenous peoples in the country. The Special rapporteur invites and appreciates any suggestions of places to visit during her stay in the country.

The Special rapporteur already invites civil society and other actors to send their contributions before her visit, for example:

1) Recent analytical reports or surveys on the situation of indigenous peoples;
2) Information on the impact of potential policies, programmes and legal framework on the protection of the rights of individuals and indigenous peoples.
3) Suggestions of situations and places to visit to be considered in priority
4) Suggestions of government officials or representatives of key indigenous or civil society organizations (in and outside the capital) with whom the Special rapporteur should seek to meet.

Please send your information to indigenous@ohchr.org by 25 September 2019. Please indicate "2019 Visit Congo" in the subject line of the email.

Your responses will be kept confidential. Neither you nor your organization will be identified, and your response will not be attributed to you or your organization, even if the Special Rapporteur raises issues that you brought to her attention.

The Special rapporteur will conclude her visit in Brazzaville, where she will discuss her findings with the Government and hold a press conference to share the mission's preliminary findings.

Outcome

The Special rapporteur will make recommendations to support the Government's efforts to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. A public mission report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2020.

For further information, please consult the Information Note in preparation for the visit.