Sanctuary – Illegal Logging and Human Rights Abuses – Democratic Republic of Congo DRC

Sanctuary Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) When activities are developed that do not account for the law this hurts my heart because the forest is threatened and may
disappear and the people who suffer are the communities. A logging company, Compagnie Du Bois (CB), promised the community in Bayeria schools, roads and employment as part of their social contract. They failed to deliver and the community protested. They were protected by the police so they could continue to
cut the trees, but we refused and stood against them. We do not understand if the State had come to protect CB or to protect us and our property. The police came here and worked
with the CB police in their camp. They were subordinate to the CB police and they started to hassle us. We sat and saw a lot of military,
there were roughly 36 soldiers. Arresting people, people fleeing and mostly the young boys were being abused severely. The police were sitting there just to torture
and arrest people We were at home with my husband and his little brother and when they came they arrested everyone they saw in
the neighborhood from a list of names. Up to today they are in Inongo and we do not
talk with them and we do not know where they are. I have not spoken with my husband,
I haven’t heard his voice and I don’t know anything. They sent a jeep full of policemen and suddenly we are all handcuffed and as for me, they shaved me with a broken bottle
and put my beard in my mouth. My friends they were just arrested and beaten but for me it was more. The boy took me, he raped me and I was just crying. The whole village was quiet, we were in the school, he took me until he was done and I stayed there the whole night crying. I feel hurt on my body. The people here suffered and
the whole village fled into the forest. All the men and women just fled into the forest. When the soldiers arrive we flee into
the forest to protect our bodies. Since the soldiers cannot enter the forest
we flee the village and just hide in the forest. We live only in the forest. This tree helps us when a child or an adult
has asthma and they are short of breath. We take this tree sap in the morning
if a child lacks water or has diarrhea. This tree we call Iroko. With its leaves we manufacture blood medicines. For me, the forest is a legacy of our ancestors. We have no gold or diamonds, our heritage is the forest. We do not like it when people come to destroy it. What we see here is the evidence and we are really angry. This is where CB made itself a concession, where they robbed us. Our State is on the side of these people, they see what is
going on and they choose to do nothing. And when the company gives them money we are arrested
and detained because these are our trees and forests. It should not happen like that, We will not leave and our struggle
will continue until the end. We will not leave, the struggle continues. The Mai-Ndombe area, including Bayeria, will
become a pilot area for major new climate investment. To avoid conflict communities
need support in their negotiations with companies. Six protesters from Bayeria remain in prison in Inongo
and no-one has been brought to justice for the atrocities
committed in the village.

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