Bushmen to take Botswana to court in July

May 31, 2004

This page was created in 2004 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The court case that could decide the future of the Gana and Gwi
Bushmen will be held in July this year. Two hundred and forty-eight
Bushmen and Bakgalagadi are taking Botswana to court over the
government's forced eviction of them and their families from their
ancestral land, in what could be a test case for Bushman rights
across southern Africa.

The case will begin on 4 July with an 'inspection in loco' of the
resettlement centres, and of the Bushman communities in the Central
Kalahari Game Reserve to which nearly 200 Bushmen have returned
despite government opposition. Fearing that their voices will not be
heard, as has been the case in previous government-led tours, the
Bushmen are calling for observers from the local and international
media to observe the 'inspection'.

The Bushmen want the government to recognise their rights to return
to their land and live there without fear of further eviction, and to
hunt and gather freely. The original case was dismissed on a
technicality in April 2002. The Bushmen appealed, and won the right
to have the case re-heard on its merits.

Note: Wildlife department permits are required to enter the Central
Kalahari Game Reserve. Entry to the resettlement centres outside the
reserve is unrestricted.

Permits are also required for filming. In the past, film makers have
sometimes been prevented from filming by the police, even when they
had the required permit.

For further information, please contact Kali Mercier at Survival International on +44 20 7687 8731 or email [email protected]

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