Right to water – victory in court

News 27.01.2011

The First People of the Kalahari (Botswana, RLA 2005) finally won! Botswana’s Court of Appeal confirmed today the Bushmen’s right to access to their borehole. They depend on the well for water supply in their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

The five judges declared the Botswana Government’s conduct towards the Bushmen as ‘degrading treatment’.

A First People’s spokesperson stated: “We are very happy that our rights have finally been recognized. We have been waiting a long time for this. Like any human beings, we need water to live. We also need our land. We pray that the government will now treat us with the respect we deserve.”

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These were the first good news in a long time after a long battle with the Government, which started with the First People’s eviction from their land in 2002. Survival International (UK, RLA 1989) suspected that the Bushmen were evicted to make way for diamond mining.

On January 18 2011, the Botswana Government approved a diamond mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, on the land of the First People.

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