Roy Sesana, leader of the Bushman tribes who won a historic court victory against the Botswana government in December, has appealed to the Indian government to protect the Jarawa of the Andaman Islands.
Sesana calls on the Indian government to respect the supreme court ruling of 2002 which orders the closure of the Andaman Trunk Road cutting through the Jarawa’s land.
‘Indigenous people all over the world have been affected by development that governments think is good. The Indian government should respect its honourable court, which has ordered the road to be closed. The Jarawa’s spirit is on the land where they stay. Their development is connected with their spirit. Crucial to indigenous people is that others should care about their land, spirit and culture.
‘Please, I appeal to the Indian government to listen to the indigenous people in India. In India there are a lot of people with different beliefs that they respect so they should also respect the indigenous people.’
The Botswana government evicted Sesana’s people, the Gana and Gwi Bushmen, from their land in 2002, and forced them to live in bleak resettlement camps. The Bushmen took the government to court, and the case became the longest and most expensive in Botswana’s history. The Botswana high court ruled on 13 December that the evictions were ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.
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