Botswana has become the latest country to decriminalise homosexuality after a unanimous decision to reject laws which punish same-sex relations.

It follows a similar decision in Angola earlier this year, which means there are more than 20 African countries in which homosexuality is now legal.

The decision prompted celebrations from activists in the courtroom when the law was scrapped.

Botswana’s anti-LGBT law had been in place since 1965, when the British colonial government introduced it.

When announcing the decision, the court’s judge said:

A democratic nation is one that embraces tolerance, diversity, and open mindedness… societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity.

And the news was met with joy around the world.

The Botswana ruling comes less than a month after a setback for LGBT rights in Africa, when Kenya’s High Court ruled that a colonial-era law which bans same-sex relations should remain in place.

But today’s victory will be seen as an important step forward for human rights activists in the continent and will be life-changing for Botswana’s LGBT community.

The ruling will help LGBT people in the country to access medical services more easily.

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