Statement of Solidarity with the LGBTQI community in Botswana
We at the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the larger LGBTQIA+ community in Botswana. The recent judgment from the Botswana Court of Appeal, which upholds the 2018 High Court ruling that decriminalised consensual same-sex sexual acts, is a positive step toward justice and freedom of all people in Botswana and in Africa. We, in our solidarity with the community and everyone who worked extensively to put an end to the archaic, colonial sections 164 (a) and (c) affirm this ruling and the people’s right to privacy, dignity, and the sexual autonomy of queer persons in Botswana.
This victory is not just a victory for queer people in Botswana; it is also a victory for all LGBTQIA+ Africans that are working and hoping for change and inclusion within their own countries. After all, injustice to one is injustice to all of us. This judgment is proof that we can live in unity, dignity, and peace regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
As Batswana celebrate this historic moment that changes their social fabric, we hope that this development sets a precedent for similar, positive, cases across Africa. Understanding that culture and tradition are dynamic and ever changing, the recognition and acknowledgement of queer persons in Botswana respects this development as necessary and beneficial to an evolving society. Colonial, outdated, discriminatory laws, are harmful to all people, especially queer people. These laws have no place in Africa, and we use this opportunity to call on other courts across Africa to emulate the example of Botswana in respecting the rights and freedoms of LGBTQI+ people.
Read the full judgement here
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