MASS FORCED REMOVAL OF KALAHARI
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
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)