African hunter-gatherers are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the world today and have an extremely low social status. Their human rights have come under threat because of political and economic problems. International agencies, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been providing them with humanitarian assistance in order to protect their customary rights and improve their lives. This article focuses on pressures facing central African hunter-gatherers, also known as Pygmies. Both exploitation of natural forest resources and forest conservation programs have forcibly displaced them from their homelands, where they have lived and carried out subsistence activities. Some of them have become highly marginalized in the region due to instable political situations. However, the government gives them little support to manage their livelihoods. Although various actors have provided humanitarian assistance, it is not always sufficient to help them earn a proper living. I describe examples of humanitarian crises among Pygmies and point out problems they face in relation to humanitarian aid. Then, I discuss ways to improve humanitarian assistance projects based on a local point of view.
Humanitarian Assistance from the Viewpoint of Hunter-Gatherer Studies: Cases of Central African Forest Foragers
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