Judge throws out Bushmen's case against Botswana

April 18, 2002

This page was created in 2002 and may contain language which is now outdated.

A crucial case for the future of Botswana's 'Bushmen' was today dismissed on a technicality.

Over two hundred Bushmen took Botswana's government to court over their forced removal from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The Bushmen wanted the action declared unconstitutional, so that they could return home. But the judge bowed to government requests to dismiss the case on a technicality, and the Bushmen remain in the dismal relocation camps to which the government removed them.

Botswana has waged a 15-year campaign to remove the Bushmen from their land. It claims this is to 'develop' them; others believe the Reserve's rich diamond deposits are the real reason. Earlier this year the government cut the Bushmen's water supply, demolished their homes and trucked them out of the reserve to the camps, which the Bushmen call 'places of death'.

Survival International has launched a worldwide campaign to persuade Botswana's government to reverse its policy. It is holding weekly vigils outside Botswana embassies, and publishing adverts around the world.

Stephen Corry, Survival's Director, said today, 'This is one of the most important cases in Botswana's history, for the government to have it thrown out of court on what amounts to technicalities just makes a mockery of justice. The government doesn't want to develop the Bushmen, it wants to destroy them.'

NB The names Gana and Gwi contain sounds not conveyed by this spelling, and can be written as G//ana and G/wi. Survival omits the symbols '//' and '/' as they are not understood by most people internationally.

Click here to donate to Survival's Bushman campaign.

Click here to join Survival's letter writing campaign on behalf of Botswana's Bushmen.

Photos and footage available to the press. For more information contact Miriam Ross (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]