Bushman support grows as court case 2 years old

July 4, 2006

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Tomorrow, 5 July, marks two years since the Kalahari Bushmen's legal case against the Botswana government began. In a groundswell of support, 135 Bushmen have asked to be added to the original list of 243 applicants.

The request of the 135 Bushmen flies in the face of government claims that only a small minority of Gana and Gwi Bushmen want to return to their land in the Central Kalahari.

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. The case has been the longest and most expensive in Botswana's legal history, despite being brought by the country's poorest inhabitants.

The last evidence was heard in May this year. The court is due to hear the lawyers' arguments in August and a decision should be made soon after that.

At least 10% of the original 243 applicants have died in government resettlement camps since the case was filed.

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]