This thesis examines the extent to which Uganda s domestic legal framework promotes the right to participation of the Batwa, which is one of the indigenous tribes in the country. This is against the background that of all Uganda s diverse ethnic groups, the Batwa has been the most historically disadvantaged in the country. The main argument in this thesis is that all groups of people, regardless of their origin and status have a right to participate in making decisions that affect them in all public forums. The Batwa s right to participation can be accommodated within the mainstream legal framework including the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. However, compared to other ethnic groups in the country, the Batwa have remained victims to various forms of discrimination. This discrimination is mainly evident in some of the policies, practices and programmes relating to rights such as self-determination and land rights. There is also lack of special protection measures and respect towards the Batwa s socio-economic rights like the right to health, housing and education. Although the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 recognizes the Batwa as one of the ethnic groups in the country, they are not recognized as an indigenous and minority group.
The central thrust of the thesis is to generate debate on the enhancement of Batwa s participation and enjoyment of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights by laying emphasis on non-discrimination and equality in participation. The right to participation both in public and private life by the Batwa has been a subject of debate and discussion among several professionals working with indigenous groups in Africa. The Constitution of Uganda 1995 (as amended) and the Local Government Act (Cap. 243) 1997 (as amended) recognize the right to participation by all persons in the affairs of government. However, there has been a challenge of implementation of the laws and policies which promote fair participation of the indigenous people considering the low levels of awareness regarding the right to participate among the Batwa.