Confidential government report posted on internet Accusing finger points at Survival International, First People of the Kalahari Government condemns the leak
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is searching for answers following the “leakage” of a confidential government report which was posted on the internet this week.
The confidential draft report which is being compiled by the government of Botswana and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights was this week posted on the internet by Survival International and First People of the Kalahari , three months before it is due to be presented to the African Union summit for discussion.
Head of Research and Public Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Clifford Maribe on Friday issued a statement to the Sunday Standard that:
“The Ministry strongly condemns the leakage of what can only be described as an incomplete report or draft at best, by someone who is bent on some mischief intended to portray Botswana in bad light in the eyes of the international community.”
Maribe said it was clear that First People of the Kalahari got the confidential document from Survival International and is circulating it on behalf of the British non governmental organisation.
Maribe said they were still wondering how the Survival International got hold of the report which is still a working draft between the Botswana government and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the African Commission on Human and People’s rights.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation would like to draw the attention of both FPK and Survival International as well as the media to the procedures that are followed when reports such as the one referred to in the e-mail messages in question are produced and submitted to the relevant organs of the African Union and the international community.
“First a mission is undertaken by a Working Group or the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights at the invitation of the State party. The findings of the mission are then submitted to the State Party for comments.
The findings of the mission and the response of the State Party are thereafter compiled into a report that is submitted to the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
After endorsement by the AU Assembly, the report is published as a document on the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR).”
Maribe confirmed that “indeed the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities of the ACHPR visited Botswana in 2005 at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Botswana.
Following their visit, the Working Group published a draft report which was submitted to government for comments. The government submitted its response to the Working Group in May 2006.
The report of the Working Group with the Botswana government’s comments incorporated is expected to be discussed by the AU assembly of Heads of State and Government in January 2007, as part of the ACHPR’s annual report to the assembly.
Maribe further stated that, “the ministry finds it strange that FPK and Survival International can claim to have seen a report, purporting to be “highly critical of the government treatment of the Bushmen, especially the Gana and Gwi of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR)” a report which would be incomplete as far as the government is concerned.
In a press statement circulated on the internet, Survival International’s Miriam Ross states that ACHPR “is about to publish its report on indigenous people in Botswana. It is highly critical of the government’s treatment of Bushmen, especially the Gana and Gwi of the Central Kalahari Game reserve.”
According to the press statement by Survival International, “the report states that the Botswana government used physical force and coercion and intimidation to evict Bushmen from the reserve, and recommended that the government allow people who wish to go back to do so.”
“It strongly condemns the government’s development model for the Gana and Gwi Bushmen. The resettlement camps looked like abandoned mine camps with little or no economic activity.
At both camps, alcohol abuse was visible from the many people (old and young) seen drunk. These settlements do not provide any visitor with a sense of hope and future for the residents”, says the SI press statement.