Amnesty urges Malawi to legalise homosexuality

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A court in Botswana has decriminalised homosexuality and Amnesty International has called on Malawi and other African countries to do the same.

In a statement today, the rights group said Gaborone High Court’s decision to decriminalize consensual same sex relations is a victory in the battle for equality and freedom for people to love whoever the choose.

“Today’s court judgement sends a strong message that no one should be harassed, discriminated against or criminalized because of their sexual orientation. With this ruling, Botswana has said ‘no’ to intolerance and hate and ‘yes’ to hope and equality for all people,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

“For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against by the very same laws that are supposed to protect them. This court decision marks an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit.”

Botswana is the latest country in Africa to decriminalise same sex relations, following Angola in January 2019, Seychelles in June 2016, Mozambique in June 2015 and São Tomé and Príncipe, and Lesotho in 2012.

Another 29 countries in Africa retain laws criminalizing same sex relations, including Malawi where those found engaging in same-sex sexual acts face a maximum 14 years in prison with hard labour.

In Kenya, a law banning gay sex was upheld by the Kenyan High Court in May 2019.

“It is absolutely thrilling that people in Botswana will no longer be considered criminals because of who they are and who they love. Authorities must immediately implement this progressive judgement,” said Muleya Mwananyanda.

On 14 March 2019, the Gaborone High Court heard an application to challenge the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code which criminalised “Unnatural Offences” and “indecent practices”.

The provisions criminalised consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex and created a climate in which people could be discriminated against, harassed or subjected to violence with impunity because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.

The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), a local NGO, challenged the colonial era piece of legislation in court, with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre providing legal support.

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One Comment

  1. Hahahahahaha dont false nations to change when its not time ror change. That is why even democracy has failled in 99% of african states. When its time you dont force things just work on their own.Some of these are regarded as a taboo in some parts that means you force pipo to change their culture which is a shame!

  2. If Malawi is known to be a christian country then don’t follow what other nations are doing concerning this issue”WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS” Is it right in the eyes of the Lord or not? I am not talking about a man who thinks that he can make up decisions without referring to god.
    If we think that we are clever allowing bad things to happen in our communities,you must know that Malawi will turn out to be SODOM & GOMORA and that will upset GOD the almighty very much.
    The Devil is brainwashing so many people nowadays,how can a man sleep with another man or a woman sleeping with another woman??
    and then we pretend as if nothing is wrong.
    This is the act of the devil and must not be entertained.Botswana is not Malawi,we don’t know how much they fear god.Don’t allow the devil to what he wants.