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Panel Organizes Discussion at Geneva Conference on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in DRC

The Inspection Panel on July 16, 2019, organized a discussion titled “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Case Study” at a side event of the Twelfth Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland. Inspection Panel Senior Operations Officer Serge Selwan led the discussion, which also included Willy Loyombo, who founded two journals that promote the knowledge and expertise of indigenous peoples. Mr. Loyombo and Adrien Sinafasi, who represents the indigenous peoples of the DRC in international fora, partnered on a 2017 book titled “The Indigenous Peoples of the DRC: Story of a Partnership.” In the book they write about the improved understanding of the situation of the Pygmies in DRC that resulted from a 2005 complaint to the Inspection Panel and led to World Bank projects that were more inclusive of the needs of indigenous peoples and strengthened their capacity in the DRC to affirm their rights. At the event, staff from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission of India, as well as officials from Burundi, inquired about the Panel process and its contribution to the World Bank’s compliance with its Indigenous Peoples Policy leading to the assertion of rights of indigenous peoples in the DRC and elsewhere.