kalahari bushmen family.jpgThe Basarwa indigenous tribes of Botswana derogatorily referred to as the “Bushmen” have lodged an appeal against a High Court decision that denies them access to water on their ancestral lands.

In July, the Botswana High Court dismissed the Basarwa’s application for permission to use a well on their lands inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

The ruling said the tribes had brought suffering upon themselves by choosing to settle at an uncomfortably distant location, and they would have to endure any discomfort they brought upon themselves.

The ruling which came a week before the United Nations formally recognized water as a fundamental human right has also been condemned by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Africa’s key human rights body.

Botswana’s president, Ian Khama, who sits on the Board of Conservation International, has described the Basarwa’s way of life as ‘an archaic fantasy’.

In 2002, the Basarwa were evicted from their lands by the Botswana government, a move that was declared by the country’s High Court as illegal and unconstitutional.

However, despite the ruling, the government continues to prevent tribes from accessing a well which they rely on for water.

Botswana has come under heavy criticism from human rights groups and global organizations like the United Nations and the African Union for trampling upon basic human rights in what has been described as “cruel and insensitive moves by a government towards its own people.”