Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow tweeted earlier today:
In beautiful Bregenz Austria for their “Project of Hope”event with other Right Livelihood Laureates Sima Simar and Jumanda Gakelbone.
— Maude Barlow (@MaudeBarlow) November 19, 2015
The Right Livelihood Award (RLA) website notes, “The [Project of Hope] event will take place from 19 to 21 November 2015. RLA Laureates Maude Barlow, Sima Samar and Jumanda Gakelebone of the First People of the Kalahari will be guest speakers.” And their website adds, “Often covering completely different topics, the Laureates visit schools in the area, take part in public panel discussions and in a full day conference.”
The Kalahari struggle has been integral in the struggle for the right to water.
The Kalahari Bushmen, also known as the San people or Basarwa, are a peoples whose territory includes Botswana. After diamonds were discovered there in the late 1980s, the Bushmen were cleared from their lands in a wave of forced evictions. Although they were allowed to return in 2006, they were denied access to a borehole, their main source of water. The Bushmen had to resort to collecting rainwater, melons and roots for drinking water. In January 2011, the Botswana Court of Appeal upheld the Kalahari Bushmen’s right to water by quashing a 2010 decision that denied the Bushmen access to a borehole on their ancestral lands.
Following the events in Bregenz, Barlow will be in Geneva on Nov. 23 for a panel discussion on “Global Advocacy and Local Action – Working towards an enabling environment for the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights”.
The outreach for this event, which takes place at the Right Livelihood Award Geneva office, notes, “In his April 2015 report to the UN Human Rights Council, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, observed that the dramatic increase in demand for natural resources has brought with it ‘a plethora of concerns relating to the sustainability of economic growth and its impact on the climate, the environment, and, more generally, on human rights.'”
It then highlights, “Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award from Botswana, Canada and Geneva, Switzerland are working on the frontlines on these issues, and have achieved tremendous success in promoting and protecting communities’ rights to land, water and adequate food and nutrition amidst shrinking spaces for civil society work in their countries and globally.”
Barlow will be speaking on the panel along with Gakelebone and Camille Selleger, who serves as Human Rights Programme Officer at the Geneva-based International Baby Food Action Network, (IBFAN) which campaigns in support of breastfeeding.
Barlow received the Right Livelihood Award in 2005.
The Nov. 23 event is being organized by The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, the World Future Council, Civicus and IBFAN.
Fracking threatens right to water for Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana (Dec. 17, 2013)
Barlow in solidarity with Basarwa against fracking (June 11, 2014)