Govt summoned over Batwa plight

Wednesday November 28 2018

batwa

Discrimination has seen the Batwa hampered from developing at the same rate as other Rwandans. PHOTO | FILE 

By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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The Senate has summoned the government to give an account about the marginalised communities known as Batwa, which a new report showed are on the verge of extinction as a result of discrimination.

The report by senators looked at the root cause of the challenges the historically arginalised groups are facing and was presented at a plenary sitting in senate early last week. It showed a sharp decrease in the number of Batwa people.

The report showed the number of historically marginalised people has reduced from 45,000 Batwa in 1995 to 36,000 in 2017.

Apart from the typical economic and social plight, the report attributes the sharp decrease in numbers to discrimination from other community members.

“I got married but my husband’s family and society at large did not accept me or my family. We suffered discrimination as well as insults. My husband’s family would use family atherings to tell him to leave me and that they would never accept me. He was told that if he didn’t  hase me away they would no longer acknowledge him.

Things got so bad that I left him and went back to my family,” a woman in Nyabihu district told the Senate.

Reports

According to the report, being isolated means the Batwa intermarry within relatives and this has affected infant mortality.

“They are giving birth to many children but many are dying at an early age,” said Jean Népomuscène Sindikubwabo, a Senate member.

The Community of Potters of Rwanda (Coporwa), a local Batwa society, pin the discrimination that their communities face on a poor standard of living, which has hampered them from developing at the same rate as other Rwandans.

The senate has summoned Prime Minister Eduard Ngirente, to give the government’s account about this issue.

The ad hoc report further echoed previous reports carried out by the Senate, which showed the Batwa are unable to access benefits like education.