Batwa turn to EU for help

Kisoro. At least 50 leaders of the minority group, Batwa, in Kisoro District have appealed to the international community to aocate for their rights, including compelling government to provide them land for commercial agriculture.
“If government can provide land and resettle the Congolese refugees in Ryamwanja and Nakivale refugee camps, why not to its citizens like us although we are a minority group? International community should help us compel government to resettle us,” Mr Francis Sembagare, one of the leaders, said.
They made the appeal while meeting 10 ambassadors of EU countries accredited to Uganda who visited them at Kamugoyi village in Kanaba Sub-county last week.
The delegation was concluding a three-day mission assessing the progress of regional integration, cross-border trade, agriculture, development and migration issues in western Uganda.
The group said they now live on fringes of national parks and provide labour for the neighbouring Bafumbira and Bakiga communities.
The communities also appealed to the government to create parliamentary and local council seats for them to effectively represent their interests.
The head of the EU adelegation, Mr Kristian Schmidt, asked the Batwa to be self-reliant, urging them to use all the available opportunities to ensure their children go to school.
“Do not seat and wait for miracles, do something to help yourselves. Avoid laziness and work as a team to overcome problems. Take your children to school. Avoid alcoholism and always support your wives every time they are involved in activities that can generate income,” Mr Schmidt said.
MP Eddie Kwizera (Bufumbira East), who accompanied the ambassadors, promised to deliver the grievances to the relevant institutions.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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