The court in Botswana has decriminalized homosexuality in a ruling. It thereby rejects an appeal lodged by the country’s conservative government. The High Court announced this on Monday.
In 2016, the court of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, ruled that laws criminalizing same-sex relationships should be changed. These “relics of the Victorian era are oppressing a minority,” the court said.
The decision was seen as “historic” because homosexuality is illegal in many African countries. But in October, the government filed an appeal. According to them, the parliament and not the judge should decide on the “political issue”. Again, without success, because the appeal was rejected.
Many gay Botswanians have long “lived in constant fear of being discovered or arrested,” Judge Ian Kirby said as he read the verdict. “This has led to depression, suicidal behaviour, alcoholism or drug addiction in some people.”
Botswana is one of the African countries that has removed homosexuality from criminal law. The other countries are Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and Seychelles. In addition, South Africa is the only African country where people of the same sex can marry.