Botswana: Challenging Criminalisation of Same-sex Sexual Relationships

> Freedom of Expression, Health Rights, Human Rights, Rights of LGBT Persons, Rule of Law, Sexual and Reproductive Rights > Botswana, Regional
Salc : Tashwill Esterhuizen

In September 2016, a gay man, filed an application challenging the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code. These provisions criminalise same-sex sexual acts between consenting persons. The man seeks an order that the continued criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual relationships violates his constitutional rights, including, the right to equal protection of the law and freedom from discrimination, the right to liberty and the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.

Subsequently, in August 2017, SALC assisted the human rights advocacy group, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), to approach the High Court of Botswana to be admitted as amicus curiae or “a friend of the court” on the basis that they have an interest in the case and that LEGABIBO would present factual and legal evidence that will assist the Court in making its determination.  In November 2017, the High Court of Botswana admitted LEGABIBO as “a friend of the court”.

The case was set down for hearing on 31 May 2018 in the High Court of Botswana in Gaborone but has been postponed.

The High Court:

Fact Sheet