Aug 14, 2012

Batwa: Pressure On Government To Respect Indigenous Rights

A report of the African Commission’s working group on indigenous populations asks the Rwandan government to protect the Batwa people.

Below is an article published by Ultimate Media: 


The government has been asked to recognize the Batwa and pastoralists as indigenous people and make appropriate legislative provisions in this respect.


This is one of recommendations contained in a report by the African Commission’s working group on indigenous populations/ communities. The report released this yesterday [2 August 2012] also recommends that the Batwa communities are provided with information regarding birth registration procedures, access to health care as well as ensuring that indigenous people are effectively represented in local and national governance structures.


The Batwa belong to the hunting and gathering communities who predominantly lived in Western Uganda in the forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi which have now been gazetted as tourism sites because of the rich and numerous species of wildlife including the mountain gorillas.


This development has rendered the Batwa landless and rights activists have warned that they are at the blink of extinction, calling for appropriate legislative provisions to protect them.


Government is also urged to return portions of protected areas to indigenous communities and find ways of sharing benefits accruing from the natural resources in those areas.