Six Bushmen arrested for hunting

September 3, 2007

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Six Gana and Gwi Bushmen have been arrested by Botswana police for hunting on their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. This follows twenty-one arrests for hunting in June and July.

Last December the High Court of Botswana ruled that the Bushmen had the right to live inside the reserve and that the government had acted against the law in 2002 when it refused to issue them with hunting permits and then evicted them from their lands.

Justice Phumaphi said in his ruling, ‘the simultaneous stoppage of the supply of food rations and the issuing of SGLs [hunting licences] [was] tantamount to condemning the remaining residents of the CKGR to death by starvation.’

Since the judgment, the government has continued to insist that the Gana and Gwi do not have the right to hunt within the reserve. It has also refused to let the Bushmen use the water borehole on their land or to bring their few goats back into the game reserve.

Bushman spokesperson, Jumanda Gakelebone, said today, ‘Why does our government want to keep the Bushmen out of their ancestral land? Last year's court ruling said we could go back and said that the government may not refuse to issue us with hunting licences. So why are our people still being arrested? This is a serious human rights abuse. It is especially bad for the people inside the reserve. They are not allowed to hunt and not allowed to use their borehole. They have nothing to eat or drink.’

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