BBC World exposes plight of Bushmen 'pushed off their land'

June 10, 2002

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Report broadcast in 200 countries

A recent TV report by the BBC's international channel, BBC World, has exposed the real reason behind the eviction of Bushmen from Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve – the rich diamond deposits beneath their land. The BBC reported that 'gold, silver and diamonds are being sought on the very land Bushmen call theirs.'

The BBC report also made clear that 'force has been used to keep the Bushmen out.'

It is the latest example of how the world's media are focusing their attention on the scandal, and how the actions of Botswana's government are gravely damaging its international reputation.

The report also exposed the fallacy of the government's supposed reason for the forced eviction – to 'develop' the Bushmen. As one Bushman interviewed for the report said, 'If they really want us to modernise, why don't they bring the schools and development to us in our ancestral lands? We think there is another agenda here: our land is very rich in minerals… Moving us from our land is a way of making us extinct.'

Survival International's Director, Stephen Corry, said today, 'Not a single independent witness or journalist has confirmed the government's story that these evictions are voluntary. On the contrary, everyone now knows the Bushmen are being given no choice and forced off their lands. It's not being done to help them or to preserve game, it's being done so that others can take the land's riches. This is the biggest mistake in Botswana's history.'

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