OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - The Botswana Court of Appeal upheld the Kalahari
Bushmen's right to water by quashing a 2010 decision that denied the
Bushmen access to a borehole on their ancestral lands.
"This is a major win, it's the first test case of the right to water
resolution at the United Nations," says Maude Barlow, Council of
Canadians chairperson and former Senior Advisor on Water to the
President of the UN General Assembly. The UN General Assembly and UN
Human Rights Council passed resolutions last year recognizing the right
to water and sanitation.
A Bushman spokesman said, 'We are very happy that our rights have
finally been recognized. Like any human beings, we need water to
live.'" The Kalahari Bushmen have been embroiled in a 30-year battle
for their right to ancestral lands and the right to water.
After diamonds were discovered in the late 1980s, the Bushmen were
cleared from their lands in a wave of forced evictions. Although they
were allowed to return in 2006, they were denied access to a borehole,
their main source of water. Although the government allowed Gem
Diamonds and Wilderness Safari access to water, the Bushmen had to
resort to collecting rainwater, melons and roots for drinking water.
The Botswana Court of Appeal ruling notes the recognition of the human
right to water at the UN and serves as a precedent for all countries
regarding respect for the human right to water in domestic law.
SOURCE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS
For further information:
Emma Lui, national water campaigner, Council of Canadians, (613) 355-2100