Bushmen back in court tomorrow

The Gana and Gwi Bushmen return to court tomorrow with their case against the government of Botswana, 160 days after the government sealed off their reserve to the outside world.

The Bushmen are fighting for their right to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely. They first filed the case in April 2002, following the evictions in February that year, but it was thrown out on a technicality. The Bushmen appealed and won the right to have the case heard, and it began in July 2004 in Botswana's high court. It has since faced long delays, and is already the longest and most expensive legal case in Botswana's history.

On 1 September last year, the government closed the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and placed armed guards at the Bushman settlements inside the reserve. The entire communities of Molapo and Mothomelo have been evicted, while those remaining at Metsiamenong are prevented from obtaining food and water. One woman has died of starvation and shock.

ENDS

Photos and footage available. For more information call Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]