Archive 2003

 

100,000 SIGN UP FOR BUSHMEN

11 February 2003

In a global show of solidarity with the Bushmen of Botswana, 100,000 people around the world have signed a petition calling for them to be allowed to live on their own lands in peace.

The petition is being handed in this week to Botswana embassies in 11 countries: South Africa, Japan, USA, Germany, Spain, Zimbabwe, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Kenya. In Kenya the petition was delivered by members of the Ogiek tribe, another persecuted hunter-gatherer people, in a show of trans-African solidarity.

The hand-in marks the first anniversary of the government's eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. The Bushmen's water supply was destroyed, their homes were dismantled and they were trucked out to resettlement camps. It was the culmination of a 15-year campaign of persecution.

The Bushmen are now forced to apply for permits if they want to visit their land, in an impossibly bureaucratic procedure. Around 100 Bushmen have managed to re-establish their former homes in the Reserve, but are regularly harassed by officials.

In a passionate appeal, one Bushman woman recently told Survival, 'Look at our situation, take away our words for your campaign. Rescue us from the situation we are in right now...to make us free to go back to our original land.'

Survival http://www.survival-international.org is a worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights. Survival's general email: info@survival-international.org

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