Survival International (SI) has just announced that Gem Diamonds decided to delay their diamond mining operation on G/wi lands inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Demand for diamonds has dropped radically due to the global recession, and all of the diamond mining operations in the country closed in February. The company has confirmed the delay.
SI’s press release rehashes the tragic history of the terrible treatment by Botswana of the peaceful Bushmen people. The national government of the country and the large corporations, first De Beers and subsequently Gem Diamonds, consistently denied that they had any intention of mining for diamonds on the lands from which the G/wi and other San peoples were evicted. Their protests all turned out to be lies. In addition, the government has ignored the fact that the Bushmen won their case in Botswana’s highest court in 2006. The court reaffirmed that they had the right to live on their land, but the government has continued to persecute the G/wi, denying them access to water and game animals.
Stephen Corry, Director of SI, repeated assertions he has made in the past: “Survival’s allegations were true all along, as they are today when we say the Bushmen are still being denied their rights. Their treatment is still illegal and against the Botswana constitution. They are not even allowed to use the water borehole on their land.”