One year after court victory, Bushmen still far from home

December 3, 2007

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13 December marks the first anniversary of the Kalahari Bushmen’s  landmark victory in Botswana’s High Court. But the Botswana government has failed to uphold the court’s ruling, and most of the Bushmen remain stranded in resettlement camps.

The court ruled that the Botswana government’s eviction of the Bushmen was ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’, and that they have the right to live on their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and hunt and gather there.

But the government refuses to let the Bushmen hunt, and has stepped up its persecution of those who do. At least 53 Bushmen have been arrested for hunting in 2007, and many have been tortured.

The government has also refused to let the Bushmen access their water borehole inside the reserve.

The Bushmen were trucked out of the reserve with their dismantled huts and all their possessions. But the government has offered them no assistance to make the long journey home through the Kalahari desert.

Since the court ruling, the government has backed plans for a massive diamond mine worth $2.2 billion on the Bushmen’s ancestral land.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Botswana government is in effect saying the Bushmen have the right to eat and drink in the government camps but not on their ancestral lands. It is effectively condemning them to death.’

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