MEDIA STATEMENT: BOTSWANA HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF OFFENCES WHICH CRIMINALISE CONSENSUAL SAME-SEX SEXUAL CONDUCT

On 11 June the Botswana High Court ruled in favour of the case of LM vs. the Attorney General of Botswana that challenged the constitutionality of sections 164(a) and (c) and section 167 of the Botswana Penal Code. These provisions criminalized same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults and enforced a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

“The Botswana courts have once again shown themselves to be champions of jurisprudence that acknowledges the dignity of LGBT persons, and that they too, have the right to equal protection before the law”, says LGBT and Sex Workers Rights Programme Lawyer and Board member of IAM,Tashwill Esterhuizen, at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). “Through their sound legal reasoning and constitutional jurisprudence, the Botswana courts continue to set an example for other courts in the region on the important role that the judiciary can and should play in protecting and promoting human rights for all persons. We hope that this case will set an important precedent for other courts in the region and that they too will follow suit”.

Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) celebrates with LGBTI people, their parents, families and friends (PFF), our partner LEGABIBO and all involved in this landmark judgement in Botswana. This is a positive step towards the vision, not only of the inclusion of LGBT people and other marginalised groups, but a celebration of diversity and the richness it brings to spaces and communities in Africa.

IAM’s dialogues and engagements over 24 years have exposed that the exclusion of LGBT people maintains, strengthens and supports stigma, discrimination, homo- and transphobia and immense personal pain. The ruling in favour of LM. vs The Attorney General of Botswana celebrates the work towards an inclusive constitution and governance that acknowledge and celebrate human dignity for all people in Botswana.

IAM commits to, through engagement and bravery of those involved, transform obsolete and outdated spaces into spaces of sharing, listening, understanding and ultimately change and to stay committed to collaborate with partners, organisations, concerned individuals and allies in the region that support and work towards the inclusion and human dignity for all people.