Botswana decriminalises homosexuality in landmark judgment

Earlier this month saw Botswana’s High Court rule in favour of decriminalising homosexuality in what is described as a landmark decision by LGBTI rights campaigners in this Southern African country.

The case was brought to court by a student who argued that “society had changed and homosexuality was more widely accepted”.

According to the BBC, the ruling saw the court finally reject laws⁠, which have been in place since 1965, and that previously imposed up to seven years in prison for same-sex relationships, by stating they were “unconstitutional”.

All three judges came to the decision unanimously, with Judge Michael Elburu ruling that the laws banning gay sex are now officially to be labeled as “discriminatory”. He further added that “human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalised” and that “sexual orientation is not a fashion statement [but rather] an important attribute of one’s personality.”

This move by Botswana directly contrasts with Kenya’s recent ruling against campaigners seeking to overturn laws on gay sex.

Elsewhere, gay sex is still punishable by death in northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, and Mauritania, while in Tanzania homosexuality can result in a life sentence.