Government makes Bushmen's return to forests difficult

Published: Thursday 15 February 2007

-- In December 2006, Botswana's Bushmen won legal rights to return to their homes in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (See 'Return of the natives', Down To Earth, January 15, 2007). But the government has now made their return difficult and contends that it must protect the reserve as a national resource.

It argues that only the 189 persons who filed the lawsuit would be given automatic right of return with their children; about 2,000 Bushmen are waiting to return home. It has also imposed restrictions on domestic animals, which it says could infect wildlife with diseases. They can't build permanent structures in the reserve and the government would determine the amount of water that the Bushmen will use.

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