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In a major blow to the Botswana government's claims that it evicted the Gana and Gwi Bushmen in order to ’develop' them, the US State Department has condemned the Bushman eviction sites as being ’threatened by the lack of employment opportunities and rampant alcohol abuse.'
In its recently released annual report on human rights, the State Department says the Botswana government ’forced [the Bushmen] to abandon their ancestral communities in the CKGR.' It reports that the Bushmen ’continued to struggle' in the eviction sites where ’game was scarce', and that many had moved back to the CKGR. It notes that Bushman groups ’have called for the Government to recognize their land use system and to grant them land rights.'
Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ’Fewer and fewer people inside or outside Botswana are fooled by the government's claims that the relocations were voluntary or that the evictions sites constitute ’development'. It would be so easy to halt the increasing barrage of international criticism on this issue and salvage Botswana's reputation: the government should just let the Bushmen go home.'
To read the full text of the report's section on Botswana, visit https://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41589.htm
Photos and footage available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]