Mmegi Online :: UPR NGO Working Group congratulates LEGABIBO on landmark win
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Wednesday 21 February 2018, 17:14 pm.
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UPR NGO Working Group congratulates LEGABIBO on landmark win

We, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) NGO Working Group congratulates one of our member organisations, LeGaBiBo, on its win in a landmark case on March 16, 2016.
By Staff Writer Tue 22 Mar 2016, 14:57 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: UPR NGO Working Group congratulates LEGABIBO on landmark win








The Court of Appeal found that the Botswana Government had acted unconstitutionally by rejecting the registration application of LeGaBiBo on  March 12, 2012. The UPR NGO Working Group, comprises Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO), DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Kuru Family of Organisations, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) and MISA – Botswana Chapter and Rainbow Identity Association (RIA). It is facilitated by DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights.

LeGaBiBo (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana), an advocacy organisation, was established as a project of DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, in 1998. LeGaBiBo aims to provide human rights information and advocate for rights, including right to access to health services.

On February 16, 2012, LeGaBiBo applied for its registration in terms of the Societies Act. The Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the registration application. The two key reasons for the refusal were that the Constitution of Botswana does not recognise homosexuality and that the objectives of the organisation are contrary to section 7 (2) (a) of the Societies Act.

The Botswana

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Penal Code sections 164 and 167 outlaws acts which are considered to be ‘contrary to the order of nature’. However, it does not clearly state what constitutes such acts. There is also no law in Botswana which expressly criminalises homosexuality, lesbianism or bisexuality.

Supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), LeGaBiBo challenged the decision of the Government on March 12, 2013. It requested the High Court for a judicial review of the decision to refuse registration because the decision had violated rights protected in the Botswana Constitution.

These are: freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, right to personal liberty and protection from inhuman treatment.

This landmark decision makes clear that the human rights provisions enshrined in our Constitution are an important tool in the protection of human rights. It is an important milestone in protecting the rights of those who experience discrimination, or constrained access to express their views.

A people-centred approach to development demands that the dignity of every person is respected and that rights are exercised in a manner which does not violate the rights of others.

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