Aitor Lara

Photographer
    
Baka. Guardians of the forest.
Location: Seville
Nationality: Spain
Biography: The photographer addresses issues related to identity, suggesting ways to interpret contemporary realities.  His professional career began in 1999 when she was awarded the Juana de Aizpuru Photography Prize, showing her work at international... read on
Public Story
Baka. Guardians of the forest.
Credits: aitor lara
Updated: 05/19/16

The Baka Pygmies of Cameroon are facing a serious departure from their traditional way of life due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that has been forced upon them for years. They were expelled from their ancestral lands, which have been turned into protected areas of the Dja Faunal Reserve and into concessions granted to transnational companies that exploit natural resources such as gold, iron and wood. However, the Baka People see themselves as the guardians of the forest.

The economic development policies of the Cameroon government have focused on mining, wood and extensive agriculture of monocrops such as oil palm and rubber, causing the progressive disappearance of the rainforest. This has all triggered an accelerated loss of the collective identity of the Baka community, which is driving them toward alcoholism, malnutrition and the proliferation of diseases like HIV and AIDS.

Profoundly disoriented, settled at the gateof the rainforest, the Baka people are deprived of the fundamental right to property of their own land, as recognized by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.

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