Thank you, Mr. President. Action Canada for Population and Development makes this statement on behalf of The Botswana Group for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We are encouraged by Botswana’s invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and accepting recommendations relating to standing invitations to UN special procedures, but are very concerned by the unwillingness of Botswana to put in place other guarantees for civil society participation and space. We hope that Botswana’s commitment to implement CEDAW and CAT will be extended also to accede and domesticate other international treaties.
We are also encouraged that Botswana did not accept a recommendation to further restrict access to safe and legal abortion. Botswana’s continued denial of the right of access to safe and legal abortion information and services, and the recognition of sex-work as work, and rights relating to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression undermine their commitments made to ensuring the right to health for all and the principle of non-discrimination and combatting gender based violence. The intersecting nature of various oppressions necessitates a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In keeping with its acceptance of the recommendation to “Further consolidate its social and human rights policies, particularly in the area of economic, social and cultural rights in order to improve the quality of life, particularly of the most vulnerable groups of its population”, we call on the government of Botswana to:
- Accept the recommendation to adopt legislation to protect victims of violence and other human rights violations, in line with resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Thereby protecting and promoting bodily autonomy and protecting LBQ women from violence.
- Incorporate in domestic law the international conventions ratified by Botswana, such as CEDAW, to guarantee the rights of all women, including queer women, to live free from discrimination.