US State Department says Botswana Government 'forced Bushmen to abandon their ancestral communities'

A report on human rights released earlier this year by the US government says that the Botswana government 'forcibly resettled' the Bushmen from their ancestral land.

The 'country report on human rights practices' says that at the end of 2003 'Basarwa remained in resettlement camps after the Government forced them to abandon their ancestral communities within the CKGR…' It goes on to say that 'in April 2002 the Government forcibly resettled all Basarwa from the CKGR to the government-created settlement areas of Kaudwane, New Xade and Xere, where the facilities had to cope with a doubling of population without an increase in resources. During the year, the Basarwa continued to struggle with the lack of services and opportunities in the relocation areas.'

Two Bushmen representatives are currently touring the US to publicise the forced relocations, and will be meeting members of the US Congress at the end of the month.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said today, 'This report is hugely significant because it confirms that no independent observers, not even Botswana's closest allies, believe the government's claims that the Bushmen relocated voluntarily.'

For more information,
please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on: +44 20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

See Related Material on the left for further background information on the Bushmen.

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