Botswana gay rights group wins landmark case

_78999557_dsc_0373_2A gay and lesbian group in Botswana has won a landmark legal case in the country’s High Court, allowing it to be officially registered.

The judge ruled that the government had acted unconstitutionally in blocking the group, Legabibo.

“I am happy with the judgement – it has sent a message to the government, the entire region and Africa,” the group’s Caine Youngman told the BBC.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Botswana, as in many African countries. The Botswana Penal Code, based on old English law, describes homosexual acts as offences against morality, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

“We are overjoyed at the outcome of the case. Lesbians, gays and bisexuals have long strived to be able to form an organisation which can support them and be their voice on matters that affect them,” said Mr Youngman.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which often handles human rights cases across the region, said the ruling could have bigger implications.

“The judgment emphasises the importance of the rights to freedom of expressions, association and assembly in a democracy,” said SALC’s Anneke Meerkotter in a statement. “Importantly, the judgment emphasises that it is not a crime to be homosexual or attracted to someone of the same sex. The court finding is important not just for activists in Botswana but throughout Africa.”

15 thoughts on “Botswana gay rights group wins landmark case

    • Max there are many clubs like that here in 9ja, and some are even registered already.
      When I was in lag, I had a brief stint with one called The Initiative for Equal Rights. You may want to Google them.

      We are not there yet, but…

    • oh, interesting! When was that?
      They are no longer in Ikeja. They’ve moved to “a more secure location “. Lol.
      I’ve forgotten the name of the area.

      • Maybe like four years ago I think. I think they were @ Olowu street then! Tho recently they had a private screening of that movie (what’s the name again) and someone invited me too! I was there!

    • wow.
      ok I don’t know the name they gave to the film. Wasn’t even in Lagos four years ago.
      Bt the film is about the lives of Nigerian LGBT guys and their struggle. They use it to appeal to international donors.
      I showed my ugly face in one of such films last year. But the anti gay law stopped us from publishing it.

  1. Bisi Alimi will so wish he’s from Bostwana. And to. Think that even as homophobic as Uganda is, their judicial system is still reviwing the anti-homosexul act, it gives heartbreak about Nigeria.

  2. The sad thing about these laws against homosexuality is that they were given to us by the British who have gone on to legalise same sex unions. We, however, continue to defend it like it is our birthright. Same thing with religion.
    I don’t know if we want another colonisation to make us think right (I was going to type straight but I realised that would be an unintended pun). We seem to have a hard on for tradition, “as it was in the beginning, and now and forevermore. ..” We don’t care who gave us the tradition, what their aim was and whether it stands to reason in present circumstances. O di egwu really!
    And as for similar thing happening in Nigeria, if we continue to keep quiet, playing the victims, nothing will happen. Mandela and the ANC then went on mass disobedience and got put in jails, the fear of imprisonment was then dismissed. Same thing with civil rights movement in the USA. If we don’t stand up and make our presence felt, nothing will happen. No one gives out freedom on a platter of gold. It has to be won by blood and sweat.
    I remember when I watched the movie Milk, one thing he said to his friends then was that people think gays are not around them, “The first step is coming out, let them know that the people they persecute are their brothers, sons, uncles, cousins, fathers and friends. ..” (not the exact quote but that’s the paraphrased gist of his statement)
    Having said that, I will answer that I’m not out because I know the question may come. But I understand that is the way forward and I am inching towards that.

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