NEWS 2005

 

SAN PERSECUTION CONTINUES IN BOTSWANA

 

September 13 2005



Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) condemns the Government of Botswana (GoB) for systematically waging a campaign of terror against especially the Gana and Gwi San (i.e. Bushman) indigenous minority groups in that country.

In a series of alarming reports during the last eight months, the London-based international human rights organization, Survival International (SI), has continuously exposed what appears to be a deliberate campaign of terror directed mainly against the two San groups. On numerous occasions the Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo) has also expressed grave concern about the precarious situation of the Basarwa (i.e. San) indigenous populations in Botswana.

Some eight years ago, the two hunters and gatherer people were forcibly removed from their traditional hunting grounds in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). They were dumped in camps just outside the Reserve where livelihood for them is virtually non-existent.

“Seen against the background of maintaining the death penalty coupled with the recent politically motivated deportation of Australian Professor Kenneth Good and the December 2003 refoulement of eight Namibian refugees, the incessant persecution of these two vulnerable groups, exposes the false image of Botswana as one of Africa’s most democratic countries. It is also ludicrous for our leaders to demand reform and democracy within United Nations while at home they deny these things to their own people”, noted NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh in the Namibian capital this morning.

In the latest development, armed police and wildlife rangers have raided Gwi and Gana residents in the CKGR threatening to execute the residents should they refuse to leave the Reserve, SI said in a Press Release on September 12 2005.

“The authorities must not carry out such threats. Furthermore, in solidarity with our sister organizations SI and the Botswana Center for Human Rights, we are calling upon the GoB to entirely desist from this campaign of terror against these already vulnerable peoples”, said ya Nangoloh.

NSHR calls upon Southern Africa Development Community nations, the African Union, the United Nations as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to address the human rights situation of Botswana’s San people before it is too late.

Note: For further comment, please call Phil ya Nangoloh or Dorkas Philemon at Tel: +264 61 236 183 or +264 61 253 447 (office hours) or Mobile: +264 811 299 886 (Phil) or e-mail: nshr@nshr.org.na or web: www.nshr.org.na

 

SOURCE