Batwa: Natives Demand Compensation
Forced out of their ancestral homes in the early 1990s, the Batwa now demand land and aid to the Ugandan government.
Below is an article published by All Africa.com:
The Batwa have appealed to the Government to resettle them after they were evicted from their ancestral homes in the forests, writes Darious Magara.
The Government forced the Batwa out of the forests in the early 1990s to gazette them as national parks for conservation.
Meeting the parliamentary committee for equity and opportunities in Kisoro district on Monday, Silver Bahane, the MP for Bufumbira North said: "They have lived without land since then at one time, they were feared to be facing extinction if it were not for the intervention of some NGOs."
The committee, led by the chairperson, Jalia Bintu Abwooli, met four groups of Batwa in Kisoro and Budibugyo districts. About 5,000 Batwa live in the former Kigezi and Budibugyo district.
The Batwa said they urgently needed farm inputs and seeds to engage in production and land for cultivation so that they can stop begging for survival.
They stressed that they deserved better than the gorillas that replaced them in the forests. Some forests like Echuya in Kabale are used to protect birds.
Bintu noted that some non-Batwa men were having sex with Batwa women believing that they will cure them of backache.
She said the belief, which is widely shared among the Bakiga and Bafumbira, could escalate the spread of HIV/AIDS among the Batwa.