Friday, 6 December 2013

Appeal: Bushmen of Botswana - first diamonds, now fracking

Source: Survival International

Dear friends,

Government repression is pushing the Bushmen of Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the brink of extinction and we urgently need your help to stop it.

In yet another devastating blow to the last hunting Bushmen, we have received news that the Botswana government has opened up the reserve to fracking companies. The Bushmen have not been told, let alone consulted.

As a board member of Conservation International, President Khama will be aware that environmentalists have strongly criticized the process. Fracking requires vast amounts of water – already a scarce resource in the Kalahari Desert – and the extraction process pumps out toxic chemical by-products: this could be the final straw for the Bushmen whose way of life is irrevocably entwined with their natural environment.

Many of you will be familiar with our decades-long campaign for Botswana's Bushmen, who have lived on their ancestral lands since time immemorial. Ever since vast diamond deposits were discovered in the reserve, the tribe has been ruthlessly and relentlessly persecuted by their government – evicted from their homes and forced to live in grim resettlement camps, denied water, intimidated, arrested and even tortured for subsistence hunting. Now it seems not just diamonds, but gas, is behind attempts to kick them off their land.

Harassment is a daily occurrence: in a rule eerily similar to the hated Pass Laws of apartheid South Africa, the Bushmen are being forced to apply for temporary permits to visit their families. ‘Overstay’ and they risk being arrested. And their British lawyer has been barred from the country.

We simply must not let President Khama’s cruel and vindictive policies bring about the end of the last hunting Bushmen in Africa.

To be able to run our campaigns for the Bushmen and other tribes worldwide in 2014 we urgently need your financial support.

With your help we can gather more evidence to challenge the government, put pressure on the corporations who have been granted licences to prospect in the reserve, keep the issue in the headlines and call for more support of our Botswana tourism boycott. The Bushmen can win. No government can ignore the strength of international opinion forever.

Please donate now. No amount is too small.

With sincere thanks and best wishes,

Stephen Corry

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