April 19, 2017

Batwa: Denied Land Ownership in Burundi

Photo courtesy of Ecofin Agency

The indigenous Batwa are perpetually struggling to survive while States deny them land rights. In Burundi, political power and territorial claims are only divided between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups – the Batwa are given no access. As they are prevented from cultivating land, many Batwa have turned to the pottery trade. However, this activity is no longer a viable way of life, and with the costs of survival regularly exceeding their earnings, hunger pervades their villages and forces children to leave school.

 

The article below was published by Ecofin Agency: 

In Burundi, the Batwa ethnic minority denounces its exclusion from land ownership, as compared to Hutu and Tutsi majorities. An injustice which adds to another included in the March 2005 constitution of the nation which states that power is divided 60-40 between the Hutus and Tutsis respectively.

Not granted access to agricultural lands, Batwas practice pottery, however they are threatened by food insecurity. "I am 50 years old and since I was born, I did nothing but pottery. Pots have no more value, their prices are very low while food is getting more expensive. We are asking the State to give us lands because we have the strength to cultivate. Some of our kids even go to school, but drop out due to hunger,” one of the Batwas told Africanews.

“In 2013, during talks for constitution’s amendment, Batwa leaders sent a letter to President Pierre Nkurunziza to denounce their marginalization. Yet, they were once more ignored,” the website adds.