Survival launches Bushman water campaign

April 1, 2008

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Survival launches a new letter-writing campaign today asking the new President of Botswana, Lt Gen Ian Khama, to allow the Bushmen of the central Kalahari to access water on their land.

Survival is writing to thousands of supporters worldwide, asking them to send letters to President Khama.

When the Bushmen were evicted from their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2002, the government closed the borehole at the community of Mothomelo that had been their main source of water.

After their historic court victory in 2006, in which the evictions were declared unlawful, the Bushmen hoped to be able to return home. But the government has refused to let them use the borehole, even if they operate it themselves. The only justification given is that the unused borehole is ‘government property’.

Meanwhile, preparations for a $2.2 billion diamond mine in the reserve have already started. It will be allowed to use all the water it needs.

A number of Bushmen have returned to the reserve, despite the lack of water. One woman said, ‘Everyone is thirsty. It’s hard. If you still have a little energy, you may go and get food and wood, but if you are really thirsty, you can’t. You have to sit in the shade inside the hut where it is cooler, because if you get more thirsty you’re stuck between death and life.’

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