Batwa have vowed to go back to their ancestral home over empty promises and failure to compensate them since they were evicted from forest lands by the government.

On 8th February 2013, the Batwa of Uganda submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court of Uganda seeking recognition of their status as indigenous peoples under international law and redress for the historic marginalization and continuous human rights violations they have experienced as a result of being dispossessed of their ancestral forest lands by the government.

Before their eviction, the Batwa had lived in the forest since immemorial times.

In 2018, the Batwa opened a case against the government for failure to resettle or compensate them but it has taken years to come to its judgment.

In August, 2021, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Government, NFA and UWA evicted the Batwa illegally from their ancestral land and ordered the High Court to determine appropriate compensation measures to the Batwa. However, this has not happened and there are no signs that it will happen soon.

However, In an interview with Journalists this week at Kigezi high school primary playground in northern division, Kabale municipality, Gad Ssemajeri the executive director of Batwa development organization who doubles as the vice chairperson for civil society coalition of indigenous people in Uganda revealed that since in 2021, when the Constitutional Court ordered the High Court to determine appropriate compensation measures to the Batwa nothing has been done but instead the government has now appealed  the case to supreme court for fresh judgment.

Ssemajeri narrated that as a result of eviction, the Batwa have seen the heart of their culture, traditions, beliefs and wealth swept away. They have become squatters on other peoples’ land and now experience severe poverty, malnutrition and health problems.

Responding to the matter, Denis Obbo, spokesperson ministry of lands, housing and urban development said that to listen and to respond to the Batwa issues, the government wants legal entities to be established aiming at addressing Batwa concerns to prevent the so-called third parties from using them for their benefits.

However, Ssemajeri said that the third parties the government is referring to are the funders and the employees whom they employed to help and work for them.


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