Botswana: High court’s ruling over LGBTI group progressive

The High Court judgment overturning Botswana’s Department of Labour and Home Affairs’ refusal to register an organisation representing the rights of LGBTI people is a triumph for justice and a victory over state homophobia, said Amnesty International today. 

Lesbian, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) brought the case against the government arguing that the refusal to register their organisation violated their constitutional rights, including their rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression, and equal protection of the law. 

“This High Court ruling is a triumph for justice and a victory over state homophobia. It re-affirms the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Botswana to organise and advocate for their human rights without being subjected to unfair treatment,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for the Southern African region.

“We welcome the ruling of the High Court entitling LEGABIBO to register to operate in the country – affirming the rights of LGBTI people to claim their space in society. Botswana’s authorities must now act immediately to comply with this ruling and ensure that LEGABIBO is allowed to register and carry out its important work.”

LEGABIBO aims to provide LGBTI people in Botswana with information on human rights and to advocate for their rights, particularly the right to access to health services. The group’s victory in court today follows a protracted battle since the organisation first applied to register in 2008.