win landmark legal case
Scenes of jubilation greeted the Botswana High Court's
ruling today in favour of the Kalahari Bushmen.
The court ruled today that the Botswana government's eviction of the Bushmen
was 'unlawful and unconstitutional', and that they have the right to live on
their ancestral land inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The court also ruled that the Bushmen applicants have the right to hunt and
gather in the reserve, and should not have to apply for permits to enter it.
One of the judges, Justice Phumaphi, said the government's refusal to allow
the Bushmen to hunt 'was tantamount to condemning the residents of the CKGR to
death by starvation.'
However, the judges also said that the government is not obliged to provide
services to Bushmen in the reserve.
Bushman spokesman Roy Sesana said outside the court, 'Today is the happiest
day for us Bushmen. We have been crying for so long, but today we are crying
with happiness. Finally we have been set free. The evictions have been very,
very painful for my people. I hope that now we can go home to our land.'
Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'The court's ruling is a victory
for the Bushmen and for indigenous peoples everywhere in Africa. It is also a
victory for Botswana. If the government quickly enacts the court ruling, then
the campaign will end and the country really will have something to be proud
The court case has been the longest and most expensive in Botswana's history.
press file about the court case, including summaries, biographies, legal
precedents, photos and video clips, is available at http://www.survival-international.org/bushmenpresspack