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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 16:58 GMT
Botswana bushmen ruling accepted
Roy Sesana, leader of the First People of the Kalahari
The leader of the bushmen welcomed the verdict
The government in Botswana has formally accepted last week's court judgement in favour of one of the world's oldest peoples - the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

The San people won a landmark case that they had been wrongly evicted from land roamed by them for thousands of years.

A statement from the president's office said the government accepted it acted illegally cutting their water supplies.

The Bushmen have said they will return to their desert homeland, four years after more than 1,000 were driven out.

The bushmen are the oldest people in Sub-Saharan Africa and the case was the longest and most expensive in Botswana's history.

'Dispiriting' camps

The San people brought their case forward after being moved to functional but bleak settlements outside the Kalahari game reserve, where a new way of life was imposed.

Map of Botswana

The government argued that the bushmen did not belong to the Kalahari any more because their lifestyle had changed, and their presence interfered with conservation.

The reserve was a poverty trap that denied them access to health and education, it said, arguing that the bushmen were better off in the settlements, where they had clinics and schools along with better access to food and water.

They also denied allegations that the bushmen were driven out to make way for diamond mining.

The bushmen's lawyer contended that although there were facilities in the camps, there was little for them to do and they lived a dispiriting existence.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Botswana's bushmen
13 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Should ancestral land be protected?
13 Dec 06 |  Have Your Say
Row over Bushmen 'genocide'
06 Nov 05 |  Crossing Continents
Bushmen mourn lost lifestyle
11 Jul 04 |  Africa

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