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Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what reports the Department has received of the forced removal of groups from their tribal reserves in Botswana; and if he will make a statement. [122153]

In early 2002, the Government of Botswana ceased supplying water to San people living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, estimated to number about 500 at that time. Most of these people have since left the Reserve, many of them in a government co-ordinated relocation in February 2002. Representatives of the San are bringing a court case about the decision to cease supplying water. Our High Commission in Botswana is continuing to monitor the situation.The Secretary of State, Baroness Amos discussed the relocation of the San with the Government of Botswana during her visit there on 1–2 April as Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa. Her discussion was part of an on-going dialogue between the two Governments about the San, and about wider poverty issues in Botswana.