Angelina Jolie - Kalahari Bushmen cry for help

June 1, 2006

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The Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana have sent a desperate plea for help to actress Angelina Jolie, who gave birth to a daughter on Saturday in neighbouring Namibia.

The Botswana government has evicted the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their ancestral land in the central Kalahari. The Bushmen are fighting for their right to return home. Actors Colin Firth and Julie Christie have already spoken out in their support.

‘We have heard that you are very interested in human rights,' reads the open letter to Ms Jolie from Bushman organisation First People of the Kalahari. ‘The government is trying to destroy us and we are asking for your help in our battle to save our people. Many Bushmen families have been split apart by the evictions. Many people don't know where their relatives are and are very worried, desperate. They are not allowed to attend the funerals of relatives.

‘Those who have remained inside the game reserve are not allowed to hunt and gather and have no access to water. The health situation is bad in the resettlement camps. Young people are getting HIV and are drinking. This is not the way of our people. The death rate is now high.'

In the letter, written prior to the birth of Ms Jolie's child, the Bushmen also wished her their ‘blessings and Good Luck' for her pregnancy.

To write a letter in support of the Bushmen click here

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