In a landmark ruling delivered on January 27 by the Botswanan Court of Appeals, the Indigenous San were granted rights to drill for water in their ancestral lands. The San were evicted from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2002 and have been locked in legal battles ever since in an effort to regain traditional rights to their land and resources.
The government capped water reserves during the evictions and has since given the go-ahead for the construction of luxury tourist lodges and a $3 billion diamond mine on San land, policies that sparked international outrage and have been condemned by the UN and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, among others. Media outlets, human rights organizations, and the San themselves have welcomed the January 27 ruling, which acknowledged the San as the “lawful occupiers” of the Reserve’s lands. For more information, see this January 28 Afrol News article and the original Court ruling.