Gabon’s Endangered Activists Marc Ona Essangui

2015 Oslo Freedom Forum
May 27, 2015

Environmental activist Marc Ona Essangui describes the brutal reality in his home country Gabon – a nation that fails to provide for its own citizens, despite its abundant natural resources. He maintains that this is in part due to the current monopoly of power by the ruling Bongo family, who have abused and exploited the state for decades. He also describes how the rich and powerful in Gabon engage in cannibalism and ritual murders in the belief that it will further increase their influence. In spite of the brutal violence and repression he has witnessed, Ona continues to fight for individual rights. He highlights the successes of his environmental NGO Brainforest, which successfully lobbied against an exploitative mining project financed by a Chinese bank and showed us that resistance is possible, even in the face of overwhelming odds.