British peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham has denied reports that he questioned Survival International's integrity and accounting procedures.
The Botswana government-controlled paper the Daily News had reported Jones as saying that Survival was, 'telling the world misleading information,' and 'peddling untruths to solicit funds from donors' in its campaign to support the Kalahari Bushmen. Jones, however, has now said, 'My views on this issue… appear not to have been accurately recorded by the Botswana Daily News', and that his comments ‘have been greatly distorted’.
He goes on to say that ‘I have not at any time questioned their [Survival’s] accounting procedures or integrity’.
Lord Jones, who has led British MPs on tours to Botswana organised and funded by the authorities there, now owns a luxurious villa on the exclusive Phakalane golf estate in Gaborone. He has consistently supported the Botswana government's eviction of the Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Botswana’s High Court ruled in December that the eviction was ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.
Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'Survival International has a 38-year track record for accurate and honest work to support the human rights of tribal peoples. Our reporting and analysis of the Bushman issue has been rigorous in its accuracy and we will defend ourselves against all suggestions to the contrary.'
For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]