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Challenging the Denial of Education Rights

12 December 2008

A panel discussion and launch of the reports “Right to Learn: Batwa Education in the Great Lakes Region of Africa” and “A Double Bind: The Exclusion of Pastoralist Women in the East and Horn of Africa”, on the occasion of the United Nations Forum on Minorities.

At Palais des Nations, Room XXIII, Geneva

16 December 2008 – 13:00 to 14:00

Sandwich lunch provided

Chaired by Snjezana Bokulic, Europe and Central and Asia Programme Coordinator, Minority Rights Group International


Gay McDougall, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues
Vital Bambanze
, Unissons-nous pour la promotion des Batwa (UNIPROBA)(Burundi) Eunice Marima, Pastoralist Regional Elders Council (Kenya)
Alexandra Bojadzieva
, Roma Humanitarian Association of Macedonia Sonce (RHAM Sonce)
Dalit representative, India (to be confirmed)

The Batwa communities of the Great Lakes Region are mainly former hunter-gatherers who have been evicted from their forest homes over the course of many decades. They now live as a neglected and marginalized minority, often in remote conflict and post-conflict areas. Poverty and hunger, and the long distances they often have to travel to access schooling, prevent children from enjoying what is their fundamental human right to education. The wealth of first-hand research from each country contained in this report clearly shows that more positive action is needed from governments, civil society organizations and the international community if their situation is to improve.

Pastoralism is the one of the predominant livelihoods of east Africa and the Horn. It contributes significantly to national economies and can conserve fragile natural resources. Yet pastoralists remain socially and economically marginalized and have little or no representation in local and national government. Despite the numerous key tasks women fulfil in pastoralist society, they face this discrimination two-fold. This report recommends that governments and NGOs play a more active role in supporting and promoting pastoralist women’s participation.

For more information and to confirm your attendance please contact:
In Geneva: Neil Clarke, M: +44 773 6364409, E: [email protected]