Persecution of Bushmen stepped up

June 16, 2003

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Bushmen charged for entering their ancestral land

At least ten Bushmen from Molapo, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Botswana, have been charged with entering a game reserve without a permit. Botswana police issued the charges yesterday, June 16. The Bushmen have to appear in court on June 23.

The Gana and Gwi Bushmen were evicted from their ancestral land in the central Kalahari, where they have lived for thousands of years, by the Botswana government in 1997 and February 2002. A small number of Bushmen managed to stay on their land in spite of intimidation by the authorities. Others who were evicted have managed to return to their homes despite fierce government opposition, and hundreds more wish to go back.

While visiting the UK last week, the President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, stated that he would not let the Bushmen go home as the game reserve 'is for animals, not people'. In September the Bushmen were told they were free to go back to the CKGR. The Bushmen are the original inhabitants of the central Kalahari. The CKGR was established in the 1960s to protect Bushman lands from encroachment.

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