The indigenous people of the Congo Basin may once again walk short distances in the near future smiling as they move with baskets on their backs into forest to harvest herbs, fruit and wood like in the good old days before big agro-businesses and artisanal logging destroyed their habitat.
Reliving like before for the Bakas, Bageli and others would mean implementing the law passed by the European Union Parliament on September 13.
The law, bans the import of deforestation products into the European Union. Initially on palm oil, soya, coffee and wood, the law has now been extended to include rubber.
Henceforth, Timber from deforestation henceforth would no longer be accepted in the EU.
According to Greenpeace Africa, this is a victory for “local communities and indigenous peoples of the Congo Basin who suffer massive deforestation by rubber industries.
The law is timely, passed at a time when, “in Southern Cameroon, rubber company Sudcam has destroyed just over 11,000 ha of forest for its plantation and palm oil company Camvert continues to clear 40,000 ha of forest for its plantation, both done with total disregard for the disastrous impacts on the lives of local indigenous communities and biodiversity”, Greenpeace states.
In August Greenpeace organized a peaceful demonstration in front of the EU headquarters in Cameroon to demand that rubber be included in the list of commodities to be included in the into law.
“The wellbeing of indigenous people is constantly violated by agrobusinesses for the benefit of cultivation,” said Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja, Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.
The European Union will also consider a law opposing the financial facilities that are granted to agribusinesses by European banks,” he added.
“Greenpeace Africa calls world leaders, who are set to meet at major events to address climate change, to make decisions that prioritize the well-being of communities and the planet,” concluded Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja.