HomeNewsSan community, activists want Sadc govts to respect their rights

San community, activists want Sadc govts to respect their rights

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THE San community and San rights activists from six Southern African Development Community countries have compiled a document compelling their respective governments to enact legislation that respect their rights.

REPORT BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA STAFF REPORTER

A San rights activist with Tsoro-o-Tso San Development Trust, Khumbulani Maphosa, who attended the conference at Gobabis, Namibia, between November 26-28, described the declaration as a major milestone in their fight for recognition.

“The conference was a milestone and is likely to take us to our goal — to change the fortunes of the San people,” he said.
The San people, commonly known as the Bushmen or Basarwa, inhabit remote areas of Southern Africa, principally in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The conference in Namibia ran under the theme: “Anything For Us, Without Us, is Against Us”.

It was organised under the auspices of the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (Wimsa) and was meant to “reflect on the progress and challenges affecting the promotion and protection of the rights of the San peoples in the region”.

According to the declaration, the San community’s challenges included lack of education, access to documentation, access to basic services including health care, cultural identity and political representation.

The declaration urged governments “to enact laws and take special measures that are tailor-made for the advancement of the San people’s rights and development, in particular, to put in place pro-active legislation and policies for the development of the San peoples in areas such as education, health, citizenship and the effective protection and perpetuation of their cultural heritage, spirituality and practices”.

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