African countries should follow Botswana’s decriminalisation of homosexuality, says Amnesty Int

Proud: The LGBT parade in the Namibian capital Windhoek. AFP/File/Hildegard Titus

Proud: The LGBT parade in the Namibian capital Windhoek. AFP/File/Hildegard Titus

‘For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against,’ says a deputy director.

Amnesty International has applauded Tuesday’s decision by the Gaborone High Court to decriminalise consensual same-sex relations, saying it is a victory in the battle for equality and freedom to love whomever one chooses.

The rights group added that other African countries should follow Botswana’s example.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa said: “Today’s court judgment sends a strong message that no one should be harassed, discriminated against or criminalised because of their sexual orientation. With this ruling, Botswana has said ‘no’ to intolerance and hate and ‘yes’ to hope and equality for all people.

“For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against by the very same laws that are supposed to protect them. This court decision marks an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit.”

Botswana is the latest country in Africa to decriminalise same-sex relations, following Angola in January 2019, Seychelles in June 2016, Mozambique in June 2015 and São Tomé and Príncipe, and Lesotho in 2012.

However, another 29 countries in Africa retain laws criminalising same-sex relations, including Kenya, where a law banning gay sex was upheld by the Kenyan High Court in May 2019.

– African News Agency

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