Rwanda’s Post-Genocide Approach to Ethnicity and Its Impact on the Batwa as an Indigenous People: An International Human Rights Law Perspective

  • Brett Robert Hartley Clyde & Co LLP


Following the 1994 genocide, Rwanda embarked on a nation-building program designed, inter alia, to create unity by resisting the attribution of minority or ethnic categories within Rwanda. For Batwa, the effect is to render their claims as indigenous mute. This paper critically examines Rwanda’s approach to ethnicity using international human rights as an analytical lens, arguing that Batwa have a legitimate claim as Rwanda’s indigenous people. It concludes that pressure on Rwanda to recognise Batwa indigenous rights will remain unsuccessful and argues that a normative approach, based on alternatives such as descent- and work-based discrimination, may prove effective for ensuring their long-term survival as a marginalised people


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