Yaoundé, 9 August – On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of Indigenous People, Greenpeace Africa joins the indigenous people of Cameroon in demanding that companies responsible for land grabbing respect indigenous peoples rights to the forests.

Indigenous people, have again brought to the attention of the Cameroonian government the negative impact of large-scale land acquisition for industrial agriculture on their lives.  At the same time, they have embarked on a national and international awareness campaign on the need to safeguard their cultural heritage. The indigenous people of Baka will undertake different  activities on August 8 and 9 at the Yaounde sports stadium promenade to raise awareness on the issues that concern them.

“We were displaced from the forest without a relocation plan, for the benefit of SudCam’s industrial plantation. It is essential that, for a large-scale project such as SudCam, we, the Baka be consulted and give our consent or disapproval as we are the primary guardians of the forest. The government needs to involve us in the land acquisition process as it impacts our lives, “said Yemelle Parfait, a Baka leader from Edjom village in South Cameroon.

The Baka of the South Cameroon region are calling on the Cameroonian government to secure their rights on 60,000 hectares of Assok / Mintom forest in order to preserve their forest wealth and their cultural heritage. Once they acquire legal rights to their land, indigenous people will be able to reassert the value of their culture and make a success of their traditional medicine practice, which was destroyed by SudCam deforestation in the region.

“Large-scale land acquisition for agriculture in Cameroon, particularly in the southern region, has a negative impact on indigenous people and the environment. These acquisitions threaten the livelihoods and food security of indigenous people and other forest-dependent communities, ” said Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue, Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.

In the face of human rights injustices and abuses on these forest dependent people, we call on the Cameroonian authorities and corporations to recognize and respect the rights of the indigenous people who live and depend on the forests.

Media contact:

Afy Malungu, Communications Officer – Greenpeace Africa, amalungu@greenpeace.org, +243 991 521 250

Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue, Forest Campaigner – Greenpeace Africa, sdjacbou@greenpeace.org, +237 522 553 542