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Fourteen applicants comprising homosexuals and those into dual sex relationships who want a group to be registered in terms of the Societies Act have filed a case against the government with the High Court. The group, known as Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) want the High Court to review government’s decision not to register it as a society.

Addressing a press conference Monday, Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) Resourcing and Reporting Programme coordinator, Ms Anna Mmolai-Chalmers said the applicants, who she said were individuals and organisations that supported the objectives of LEGABIBO, applied for the registration of LEGABIBO on February 16, 2012.

“On March 12, 2012 the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the applicants’ application to register LEGABIBO on the basis that the Botswana Constitution does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the intended organization are contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Societies Act.”

Following that, the applicants appealed against the decision but the appeal was also rejected on October 12, 2012.

Thus on on March 25, 2013 the applicants, represented by Dow Associates, filed a case before the High Court. The application was also supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and BONELA, she said.

In the application, the applicant’s argued that by rejecting their application as LEGABIBO, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs violated their right to form and join an association. The applicants would seek to emphasise the fundamental importance of the rights to freedom of association and expression in a democracy which they believed, strengthened the ability of individuals to collectively organise to promote their rights.

Once registered, LEGABIBO would provide an opportunity for lesbians, gays and bisexuals to form part of an association that would provide them with information on human rights and advocate for their rights, particularly the right to access health services, she said. ENDS

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