Botswana government has announced that access to the country for the top UN human rights spokesman for indigenous peoples will be restricted Survival International (SI) claimed this week.
In a press statement that is being circulated on the internet, SI said “in an astonishing move, the government has invoked a special clause of the country’s constitution to slam visa restrictions on the UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Mexican Rodolfo Stavenhagen. “
The announcement comes as over one thousand indigenous representatives converge on the United Nations this week for the start of the sixth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
According to the SI press statement, “the same restrictions were imposed in March on 17 individuals including four Survival staff, BBC world affairs editor John Simpson and other journalists and human rights activists, most of whom had taken an interest in the eviction of the Kalahari Bushmen.
“While officials insist the move is intended to allow the government to offer the individuals assistance when they visit Botswana, it has been widely interpreted by the local and international media as a virtual ba, said the statement.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Botswana government clearly thinks it has something to hide from the UN special rapporteur. And indeed it does – despite the Botswana High Court’s decisive ruling in the Bushmen’s favour, the government is still trying to stop them returning to their land.’