Attorney – Bushmen have legal rights to their land

As a group of Bushmen arrived in court this week to hear the final legal arguments in their case against the Botswana government, their attorney Gordon Bennett argued that they have the legal right to occupy and use their land.

Bennett argued that the Gana and Gwi Bushmen ‘have a right of use and occupation by dint of [their] long occupation of the land in the CKGR', and noted that no legislation passed by the colonial British administration or the independent Botswana government had removed this right. Judges in similar cases in South Africa and Australia have ruled that where such rights have not been removed by legislation, they therefore still exist.

Bennett also argued that the Bushmen's rights to their land are protected in Botswana's constitution.

The Bushmen arrived at the court house wearing identical t-shirts which read, ‘I love CKGR'. Bushman Roy Sesana said, ‘We are so happy that after such a long case, the court is finally hearing why we must be allowed to go home. We all hope the judgement comes soon so that we can go back to our land.'

The arguments are scheduled to conclude tomorrow. A judgement should be made soon after.

To read a summary of issues prepared by the Bushmen's legal team, click here

The court is open to journalists and members of the public.

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