British parliamentarians discuss Bushman issue

Bushman woman Xoroxloo Duxee from the Metsiamenong community, died of dehydration and starvation in 2005 after the government blockaded the reserve and armed guards prevented her people from hunting, gathering or obtaining water, Botswana.
Bushman woman Xoroxloo Duxee from the Metsiamenong community, died of dehydration and starvation in 2005 after the government blockaded the reserve and armed guards prevented her people from hunting, gathering or obtaining water, Botswana.
© Survival International

The future of the Bushmen of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve has been raised in the British House of Lords this month. Longstanding supporters of the Bushmen, Lord Avebury and Lord Pearson of Rannoch, joined the discussion.

Asking a question in the House of Lords, Lord Pearson commented that Botswana’s constitution has been ‘consistently abused’. He urged the UK government to ‘[make sure] that the Bushmen have free access to the reserve, to their water supply and, indeed, to new boreholes.’

Lord Pearson visited the Bushman resettlement camp of New Xade at the invitation of the Botswana government, as part of a delegation of parliamentarians whose trip in 2002 was funded by De Beers. He later described how he ‘came home more convinced than ever that a great injustice was being done [against the Bushmen].’

Lord Avebury, a friend of Botswana’s first President, the late Sir Seretse Khama, has voiced concerns on a number of occasions about the Botswana government’s treatment of the Bushmen. In 2004, he described how the relocation of the Bushmen resulted in ‘the spread of alcoholism, AIDS and degeneration.’

The Bushmen won recognition of their right to access water in the CKGR in January.