A renowned Yanomami Indian leader from Brazilian Amazonia has made an emotional plea to the Botswana government to let the Kalahari Bushmen live on their land, ‘in peace for the rest of their lives’.
Davi Yanomami, UN Global 500 award winner, spoke today from Berlin where he is holding meetings with top German politicians.
‘I don’t think it’s good how the Botswana government is treating the original indigenous people in Botswana. It is prohibiting them from using water – but we all drink and need water. The water is on their land and comes from there – it’s for all the Bushmen. The Bushmen have the right to use their own land. They can’t abandon their sacred places which they know.
‘I am a Yanomami and I think that the Botswana government doesn’t like the Bushmen. It wants the Bushmen to die. But I don’t want the government to ill-treat my indigenous brothers and sisters, the Bushmen, who have lived for many, many years on that land. It’s their land.
‘I don’t want them to suffer for no reason at all. I want the government of Botswana to respect the Bushmen. That land, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, is their home. They should be able to live there in peace for the rest of their lives.’
Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years in the 1980s and 1990s when goldminers invaded their land. After a long international campaign led by Survival, Yanomami land was finally demarcated as the 'Yanomami Park' in 1992.
Biographies and background information on the Yanomami are available here
For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]