Botswana decriminalizes homosexuality

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday (11), Botswana’s justice decriminalized homosexuality, banned in the country under a 1965 decree that provided for imprisonment of up to 7 years for anyone practicing or attempting to practice sex with same-sex. The decision was celebrated by activists accompanying the session.

Botswana’s Supreme Court Judge Michael Elburu has stated that it was time to forget these legacies of the colonial period and that there is no reason to discriminate. “Sexual orientation is human, not a matter of fashion … the question of private morality should not be the concern of the law,” he argued.

The movement in Botswana gained momentum when, earlier this year, the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs blocked the registration of the organization “Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana”.

Representatives of the organization Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana celebrated the decision taken in the Supreme Court of the country. (Photo: AFP)

Even with the measure in Botswana, 31 African countries still criminalize homosexuality. Homosexual relations can be punished with the death penalty in Nigeria, Mauritania, Somalia, and Sudan.

Also this year, Kenya’s judiciary voted to maintain anti-gay laws in the country, even with intense demonstrations by activists. However, there are expectations that this number of 31 countries will decrease with the recent repeal of anti-gay laws in Angola, Mozambique, and Seychelles.

The situation in Brazil

Unlike many countries in Africa, in the legal sphere, LGBTs already have rights guaranteed in Brazil, such as the right to civil marriage, something that only South Africa allows on the African continent. In Brazil, a bill to criminalize homophobia is already being voted in the Supreme Court.