RTHK: Botswana legalises gay sex in rare African move
Botswana has decriminalised gay sex in a landmark case for Africa, after the High Court overturned a colonial-era law that punished same-sex relations with up to seven years in prison.

In its ruling the court said that penalising people for who they are is disrespectful and discriminatory, and that the law should not deal with private acts between consenting adults.

Sexual orientation is innate and not a "fashion statement", the judges said. "Any criminalisation of love or finding fulfilment in love dilutes compassion and tolerance." Activists in the packed courtroom cheered the decision.

The ruling came less than a month after Kenya's High Court had upheld similar sections of its own penal code in another closely watched case.

More than two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws against gay sex, often holdovers from colonial times. Such laws leave people in the LGBT community vulnerable to discrimination and abuse while making it difficult to access basic health and other services.

The ruling led to rejoicing from rights groups that had expressed frustration with the Kenyan decision last month, including ones in countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana where gay sex remains illegal. Amnesty International called on other African nations to follow Botswana's example in "an exciting new era of acceptance". (AP)

This story has been published on: 2019-06-11. To contact the author, please use the contact details within the article.

Discover 7thSpace