Uganda: 13 Years in Limbo: Forced Evictions of the Benet in the Name of Conservation

Published: 8/Nov/2021
Source: Amnesty International

On 16 February 2008, Ugandan authorities forcibly evicted 178 Indigenous Benet families from Benet forest, Mount Elgon, Sebei region (Bukwo and Kween districts), in eastern Uganda, rendering them homeless. Over a decade later, when Amnesty International visited Mount Elgon, members of the Indigenous Benet community were still living in temporary resettlement sites and reeling from the effects of the forced evictions.

This report focuses on the plight of the Benet Indigenous peoples of Mount Elgon; however, this is just one of  many cases of forced evictions in Uganda. The experience of the Benet peoples speaks to the broader need  for the Ugandan government to prevent forced evictions for all, in both law and practice.

Extract from p.11:

The Constitution of Uganda lists 56 Ugandan “indigenous communities”, as of 1st February 1926, making every Ugandan community indigenous. The list of 56 leaves out many smaller ethnic communities such as the Benet and the Basongora. The Benet are considered a subgroup of one of the 56. In official documents, such as identity cards, the Ugandan government has categorized the Benet as a subgroup of the Sabiny people of Kapchorwa district. They however have a different culture, including forest traditions, although they speak a different dialect of the same language. This categorization is used in government communication, including in a report from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), which noted the Benet …were the indigenous and historical forest dwellers of the high mountain forests and moorlands of the Sabiny community that were the official category of persons who were removed from the Mt. Elgon National Park and were the true and lawful beneficiaries of the 6000 hectares of land that government had ear marked for the resettlement exercise.”

Download report: 13 Years in Limbo: Forced Evictions of the Benet in the Name of Conservation

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Uganda
Year: 2021