Indigenous peoples in Uganda release landmark document outlining their rights

A view from Kisoro - one of the volcanos marking ancestral land, now inaccessible
A view from Kisoro - one of the volcanos marking ancestral land, now inaccessible

Indigenous peoples in Uganda release landmark document outlining their rights

In June 2018, representatives from the Ik, Tepeth, Batwa, Benet and Ngikarimajong gathered together at Kisoro in a workshop of indigenous peoples in Uganda hosted by the United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and supported by Forest Peoples Programme and the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). During the 3-day meeting, representatives discussed the key challenges they face in getting greater recognition of, and protection of, their rights.

At the end of three intense days of discussion, exchange and drafting, the representatives released the Kisoro Memorandum, a definitive statement of their rights and expectations for support from their government and from other actors, including the UN system.

The Kisoro Memorandum was presented to the Government of Uganda and to assembled UN agency representatives in a subsequent national workshop the same month, to much acclaim and appreciation. The Memorandum and the demands it expresses will be presented in New York at the celebrations of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples on August 9th, a key opportunity for the Batwa to speak about the importance of maintaining and strengthening indigenous peoples’ identities and cultures even when separated from their ancestral territories as is the case for the Batwa in Uganda.  

FPP welcomes and supports the Kisoro Memorandum and looks forward to the steps that will need to be taken to make this statement a reality for the peoples of Uganda.