Judgment day for Bushmen in vital water case
|Bushman man, Botswana. |
© Survival International
The long-awaited judgment in the landmark court case over the Botswana Bushmen’s right to water will be delivered next Wednesday July 21st at the High Court in Lobatse, Botswana.
The case was heard on June 9, with many Bushmen making the long journey to court.
When the government evicted the Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in 2002, it capped the borehole, the only source of water for the Bushman communities in the reserve.
In 2006 Botswana’s High Court ruled that the government had acted unconstitutionally when it evicted the Bushmen and said they had the right to return to the reserve. Hundreds of Bushmen have since gone back home.
Despite the Bushmen’s repeated attempts to negotiate with the government, it still refuses to let them use the water borehole.
The Bushmen, who live in one of the world’s driest regions, are forced to make arduous journeys to obtain water outside the reserve. Since the borehole was capped one Bushman has died of dehydration.
One Bushman said from inside the reserve, ‘We are thirsty and suffering… The single thing we most need is water. It’s a big problem, especially during the school vacation, when we get a lot of children back, and they are used to getting water every day, and they suffer, and we have to walk all night to Kaudwane [resettlement camp].’
Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director, said today, ‘Thousands of Bushman supporters, all over the world, will be supporting the Bushmen in their long wait for justice. Whatever the court decides, it will be a very important day for indigenous peoples’ rights.’