• Indigenous peoples in Botswana

    Indigenous peoples in Botswana

    The San, the Balala, the Nama, and their sub-groups are the indigenous peoples of Botswana. Although Botswana has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the country's indigenous peoples are not recognised by the government. The indigenous peoples are among the most underprivileged in Botswana.
  • Peoples

    3.3 per cent of the population identifies as belonging to indigenous groups, but are not recognised 64,000 belong to the San peoples, while 1,750 belong to the Balala peoples, and 2,200 to the Nama peoples
  • Rights

    2007: Botswana adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Current state

    Although Botswana has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the country's indigenous peoples are not recognised by the government. Also, they are among the most underprivileged peoples in Botswana.
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  • Botswana: Victory for Kalahari Bushmen as court grants right to water

Botswana: Victory for Kalahari Bushmen as court grants right to water

On January 27, Botswana’s Court of Appeal quashed a ruling that denied the Kalahari Bushmen access to water on their ancestral lands. With support from Survival, the Bushmen appealed a 2010 High Court judgment that prevented them from accessing a well which they rely on for water.

The panel of five Appeal Court judges has found that: * the Bushmen have the right to use their old borehole, which the government had banned them from using * the Bushmen have the right to sink new boreholes * the government’s conduct towards the Bushmen amounted to ‘degrading treatment’. * the government must pay the Bushmen’s costs in bringing the appeal. Celebrating after the decision, a Bushman spokesman said, ‘We are very happy that our rights have finally been recognized. We have been waiting a long time for this. Like any human beings, we need water to live. We also need our land. We pray that the government will now treat us with the respect we deserve.’ In 2002, the Bushmen were forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve by the Botswana government. They took the government to court and after four years, won a landmark ruling that said they had been evicted illegally and unconstitutionally, and that they have the right to live on their ancestral lands.

Tags: Land rights

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

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DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
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