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Bushman Case - Court To Rule On 13 December

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

29 November 2006
Botswana: Bushman Case - Court To Rule On 13 December

Judges in Botswana's High Court will rule on 13 December on the landmark case brought by the Kalahari Bushmen against the Botswana government.

The court will be open to journalists and members of the public. The Bushmen are fighting for their right to live on their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely there. They filed the case after the Botswana government evicted them from their land in 2002.

Bushman woman Sellalefatse Gaexhoro says, 'We are feeling it in our hearts, waiting for the court case to resume, and if we win it we can go back.'

The ruling will come only days after the US launch of the film, 'Blood Diamond'. The Bushmen have appealed to Leonardo DiCaprio, star of the film, by placing a full-page advert in Variety magazine asking him to help them. 'After diamonds were found on our land we were evicted by the Botswana government', said the letter.

The Bushmen recently launched a website with quotes from more than 400 Bushman adults about their wish to return to their land. Together with their children they number around 1,000 people: http://www.iwant2gohome.org

The case has been the longest and most expensive in Botswana's legal history, despite being brought by the country's poorest inhabitants. At least 12% of the original 239 Bushman applicants have died in government resettlement camps since the case was filed. 135 more Bushmen have asked to be added to the original list of 239 applicants this year.

-ENDS-

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