BONELA challenges Botswana to sign the SADC gender protocol

Audince at the official opening of the 35th summit of SADC heads of state
Audince at the official opening of the 35th summit of SADC heads of state

The Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), has followed the debate surrounding the National Policy on Gender and Development (NPGD), in Parliament with keen interest until the winter session closed by passing the NPGD, which replaces the Women in Development Policy (WID).

The policy was approved in the wake of the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) 35th Summit, held in Gaborone this week.

Although the newly passed NPGD refers to affirmative action, gender mainstreaming and gender inequalities; it does not adequately address how these are aligned to women’s rights; nor does it address structural and cultural dispositions which women in Botswana are experiencing despite the country being acclaimed a shining example of democracy. Human rights emphasize protecting the dignity – including the sexual rights – of all people, and create conditions in which people can make free and informed choices about their lives. Human rights promotes the freedom from all forms of violence, from assaults on bodily integrity, from marital rape and all forms of sexual coercion for both men, women and non-conforming; a principle that the NPGD lacks.

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