Mmegi Online :: UN envoy calls for recognition of minority tribes
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Last Updated
Wednesday 19 September 2018, 14:07 pm.
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UN envoy calls for recognition of minority tribes

A delegate of the United Nations (UN), Farida Shaheed, has highlighted the importance of including the country’s tribal communities in implementation of the 2001 National Policy for Culture.
By Pauline Dikuelo Fri 28 Nov 2014, 17:39 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: UN envoy calls for recognition of minority tribes








Shaheed said this when briefing local media on Wednesday, after 13 day preliminary observations she carried out on tribal communities. She pointed out that it was important to carry out consultation between government and the community, in order to spearhead new developments in their community. Shaheed, a UN special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, further stated that the Kgotla system had enabled communities to remain as custodians of their cultural heritages. She also said that during her tour she had observed that many people felt left out during changes, which in turn deprived them of their cultural heritage and distinct ways of life, as well as their own historical narratives.

“In many places I visited I heard the frustration, anger and fears expressed by the people in particular the San, the Hambukushu and the Wayeyi,” she stated.  According to Shaheed, these frustrations stem from lack of detailed information about the tribal policy, and knowledge of future plans, as well as memories of past violations.

She encouraged government to be accommodative of local people’s diverse cultural practices, and provide the necessary space for those affected to articulate their narratives in culturally meaningful ways, and have meaningful consultations with communities.

She also expressed concern over the adjudication system based on

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the chiefs, which she said led to the dominant tribes imposing their customary law on all groups in a territory especially in cases of civil matters. She said the system of arbitration by herdsmen who resolved approximately 80% of the cases at ward level without any records or reviews by the administration, was risky.  “The lack of records deprives authorities of a useful source of information about developments and issues arising at the community level,” she said.

She stated that good policies and intentions did not necessarily translate to concrete implementation, adding that execution of the 2001 National Policy for Culture was uneven. She however applauded government for promoting cultural activities such as festivals and competitions across the country, adding that there was need to provide more space for children and youth artists, as well as to encourage activities and sports in both rural and urban centres. She appealed to government to expand its support to non-traditional forms of cultural expressions and consider the establishment of a national arts council for the promotion and further development of artists and creative industries.

Shaheed lauded Botswana for its efforts and achievements in commitment to the reduction of poverty, providing services in the areas of health, education and water.

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