Botswana High Court rules ban on sexual relationships between same sex persons is unconstitutional

12th June 2019
LGBTI+

IPPF has welcomed the news that Botswana’s High Court has overturned a ban on same sex relationships.

The court ruled the law used to criminalise same sex relationships unconstitutional.

“Botswana has done it, yes the good work starts here and now,” said Una Ngwenya, Executive Director of the Botswana Family Welfare Association, IPPF’s member organisation in Botswana.

Monica Tabengwa, one of the first leaders of LeGaBiBo (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana), the main SOGIE organisation in Botswana, said: “All our work has been proven worth it through this decision.”

Botswana’s Government can challenge the decision in the Court of Appeal. Monica added an appeal was unlikely, and would fail in any case. She said: “If the Government does decides to appeal, it may not be a bad thing, as a defeated challenge would strengthen today’s decision even further.”

The Botswana law is more or less a copy of the law in many other former British colonies introduced during colonial rule.

The judgment equals the India Supreme Court judgment last year, which stated that colonial era laws did not ensure human rights as expected under post-colonial constitutions.

IPPF’s Director General Alvaro Bermajo said:

“We recognise today’s ruling as another milestone in the fight to reduce discrimination in Botswana and hope it will serve as an encouragement to those fighting similar laws in other places. We salute Botswana on this decision and hope it will lead the way for others.”