NEWS

 

 

Ogiek and Watha among 100,000 New supporters for the Bushmen

* Number of Bushmen supporters climbs to 200,000

* Petition will be handed in in eight countries

Survival supporters around the world are handing in a 100,000 signature petition to Botswana embassies and consulates this week. The hand-in marks the second anniversary of the forced relocation of hundreds of Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen' from their ancestral land. One year ago Survival presented the first 100,000 signatures to the Botswana government.

Amongst the supporters are a delegation of Ogiek hunter-gatherers in Kenya. In a statement they say, 'the heart of the Ogiek people goes out to our brothers and sisters the Gana and Gwi Bushmen... Brothers and sisters: do not let your persecutors make you forget who you are: no matter how far away from it you have been taken, the land and life your forefathers gave you belong to you. Be strong! You will see your land again!'

Petitions will be handed in in the USA (Washington, Los Angeles and New York), Belgium, Germany, Japan, UK, Switzerland, Kenya and South Africa. The petition calls on the government to allow the Gana and Gwi to return to their ancestral land.

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival said today, 'This unprecedented level of support shows just how outraged international public opinion is about the Botswana government's persecution of its indigenous people. Support for the campaign keeps on growing, and will not end until the Bushmen are back on their land.'

Photos and footage of the other protests available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org

    

Ogiek and Watha delegetions in front of the Botswana High Commission in Nairobi protested in solidarity with the Gana and Gwi people against their eviciton from their ancestral land by govern- mental greed and diamond interests.

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19 January 2004

SOUTH AFRICA'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE CONDEMN BUSHMAN EVICTIONS


Two organisations representing some of South Africa's indigenous peoples have spoken out in support of the rights of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen' of Botswana to return to their land.

The Northern Cape Khoisan Council said today, 'We support the campaign against De Beers and the Botswana Government, to persuade the government to rescind their decision to evict the Gwi, Gana and Bakgalagadi from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve..... You also have the support of about thirteen Khoisan organisations in the whole of South Africa to protest against this blatant human
rights atrocity.'

The Northern Cape Khoisan Council is an alliance of first people organisations in the Northern Cape consisting of the San, Nama, Korana, Griqua and Cape Khoi groups.

Motivation Community Development, another indigenous organisation, added, 'Like our peoples, KhoiSan, Tswana, Sotho and other African peoples of South Africa, we were dispossessed from our
lands by colonial forces. This dispossession resulted in the conditions we live in today, so much poverty, depression, unemployment, addictions, crime and violence and being unproductive......
Removal of the Gana, Gwi and Bakgalagadi Peoples from their land will do the same to them as land dispossession did to us.... It makes no difference who does the dispossessing.'

Indigenous peoples worldwide have expressed their solidarity with the Gana and Gwi since they were evicted from their ancestral land in 2002. Representatives of the Innu in Canada, the Ogiek in Kenya, the Yanomami in Brazil and the Aborigines in Australia have strongly condemned the evictions.