Saturday, March 27, 2010

denying people water to live

World Water Day has just been , marking 8 years since the Gana and Gwi Bushmen of Botswana had access to a regular supply of water in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.In 2002, the Botswana government cut off and sealed a borehole, which the Bushmen relied on for water, in an attempt to drive them out of the reserve. Despite the Botswana High Court’s 2006 ruling that the Bushmen have the constitutional right to live in the reserve, the government has refused to allow them to re-commission their borehole. It forces the Bushmen to make 300 mile round trips to fetch water, yet the government has allowed the opening of a safari lodge in the reserve, complete with a swimming pool for tourists, and has drilled new boreholes for wildlife only.

The government’s treatment of the Bushmen was recently condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur for indigenous peoples, who accused it of falling short of ‘the relevant international human rights standards’. He also found that those Bushmen who have returned to the reserve ‘face harsh and dangerous conditions due to a lack of access to water’

At least one woman has died from dehydration since the borehole was cut off.

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