NEWS 2005




October 10 2005

Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) remains alarmedly concerned about allegations of systematic persecution of Gana and Gwi Bushman (i.e. San) peoples of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

Both the recently Alternative Nobel Prize winning First People of the Kalahari (FPK) and international human rights group, Survival International, said in separate press releases over the weekend that dozens of San people are being forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the CKGR since October 7 2005.

”The Government is using members of the police’s Special Support Group, Game Scouts and police officers from the District of Ghanzi to expel our people at gunpoint. We are being removed to New Xade and Metsiamanong at least 200 kilometers west of our ancestral lands in the CKGR. We are calling upon NSHR and other human rights organizations in our SADC region to help pressurize the Government into stopping evicting us” said an FPK spokesperson on condition of anonymity this afternoon.

Botswana is a State Party to the 1948 Genocide Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as well as several other international human rights and humanitarian treaties.

“It is ironic that the Government of Botswana, hitherto widely perceived as a shining example for democracy and tolerance in our southern African sub region, continues with this merciless persecution of a most defenseless member of its population. This intentional expulsion of Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their ancestral lands as a State policy is part of a systematic campaign bearing hallmarks of crimes against humanity as defined under international human rights law. We are calling upon the Government of President Festus Mogae to cease forthwith such maltreatment and to return all those so removed” said NSHR spokesperson Dorkas Phillemon.

NSHR also calls upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to send special rapporteurs on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples to investigate the CKGR mass expulsions.

Note: For additional enquiries please contact: Dorkas Phillemon at Tel: +264 61 253 447 or +264 61 236 183 (office hours) or