Saturday, 15 June, 2019

Botswana High Court scraps anti-gay laws

Botswana legalizes homosexuality, striking down colonial-era laws Botswana to rule on scrapping anti-gay laws
Steven Clarke | 13 June, 2019, 15:31

The court unanimously ruled that "the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest".

Those arguing against the laws criminalizing gay sex say they leave people in the LGBT community vulnerable to discrimination and abuse while making it hard to access basic health and other services.

"The Botswana courts continue to set an example for other courts in the region on the important role that the judiciary can and should play in protecting and promoting human rights of all persons", said Tashwill Esterhuizen, the program lawyer for nonprofit human rights group South African Litigation Center, in a Tuesday statement.

The report argued that numerous countries that outlaw same-sex relations do so "because they once were British colonies".

The high court was hearing a petition made by a young Botswanian activist and university student who had challenged the archaic law, saying that society had changed since parts of the penal code had been written.

The High Court ruled on this point at the request of a person who was only identified with the acronym LM, for security reasons, and who attacked the penal code.

Matthijs de Ligt: FC Barcelona agree €75m deal for Ajax Amsterdam
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Today, HRC celebrates a monumental decision by the High Court of Botswana to overturn Sections 164 (a), 164 (c) and 167 of the country's Penal Code - an archaic law dating back to 1885 that criminalized consensual same-sex relations between adults. "Twenty-eight out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws penalizing same-sex relationship." said Ghoshal. "We are not looking for people to agree with homosexuality but to be tolerant", the written statement of the applicant said, according to The New York Times.

Rights group Amnesty International welcomed the decision as "marking an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit".

Scenes of celebration are flooding social media, after this historic victory for LGBT+ people in Botswana and worldwide. "We are proud of our justice system for seeing the need to safeguard the rights of the LGBT community". "Criminalization contributes to stigma and gives free rein to discrimination more generally, leading to lesbian, gay, bisexual and, in some cases, transgender people being denied health care, education, employment and housing", she said.

The map is shaded from red to purple which respectively indicates countries with illegal or intolerant attitudes towards homosexuality and countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised.

"A positive ruling would give hope to an embattled but resilient African LGBT rights movement."It would also demonstrate that Botswana takes seriously its commitments to equality and non-discrimination".

"Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected", he told the December gathering.

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