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UPR of Uganda: MRG urges the government to implement affirmative action for indigenous communities

Advocacy statements |

This statement to the UN Human Rights Council was delivered by Bob Mbabazi, at the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda, Human Rights Council, 50th session, item 6, 30 June 2022.

Minority Rights Group (MRG) welcomes the Government of Uganda’s support for the recommendation put forward by Zambia calling on the Ugandan authorities to ‘Build schools closer to indigenous communities in order to eliminate barriers for children travelling long distances to access education’, and call on the authorities in Uganda to fully implement this recommendation.

The intervention in education for the indigenous communities should not stop at the construction of schools, but also be extended to provision of enough qualified teachers and equipping these schools with adequate learning and teaching materials to improve and increase access to education, enhance school retention and completion for marginalised children.

In particular, the Government needs to implement affirmative action for indigenous children to address historical inequalities that affect income levels, school feeding gaps, language and cultural barriers that prevent these children from accessing equal and quality education.

We call on the Government of Uganda, while implementing this recommendation, to fully consult and guarantee the meaningful participation of the primary beneficiaries and other relevant stakeholders working with these indigenous communities both in the planning and the implementation.

We request the Government of Uganda to also do the same in the health sector by constructing and equipping health facilities within or closer to indigenous communities to minimise unnecessary complications and in some cases death.

Minority Rights Group takes this opportunity to express our profound concern that problems created by historical injustices related to forceful evictions of the Batwa and Benet communities from their ancestral lands continue to influence the inequalities in access to education and health care for their children and community.

These injustices continue to be reported by the Benet community in which they allege continued evictions, including the impounding of their animals, by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – this being, despite the existence of the 2005 Consent Judgement that reinforces affirmative action for the Benet community.

We call on the Government of Uganda to adopt affirmative action for indigenous children’s access to equal and quality education and health care services and to expeditiously implement in its entirety the 2005 Consent Judgement with respect to the Benet people.

I thank you.

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