20061231

 

Attrition

Excerpt: "...By the 1990s, the last remaining Batwa still practising clandestine hunting and gathering were forced to the edges of their ancestral forests to make way for national parks and military training areas. With no compensation and no alternative livelihoods, most have become beggars and landless labourers; only a small number still have access to forest resources, and much of the extensive forest knowledge once held by the Batwa is no longer being passed down from one generation to the next...A comparison of census figures from 1978 and 1991 indicates a 40 per cent fall in the Batwa population, as opposed to a 50 per cent (approximately) rise in the population of other Rwandans. Although little research has been conducted on Batwa demographic trends, it seems likely that as well as loss of land and livelihoods, high infant mortality rates, extreme poverty and poor access to healthcare have contributed to this decline..."





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