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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.
Scenes of joy as decriminalization Of homosexuality made official in Botswana #repeal164 https://t.co/pBch7o6kdh — Ryan Brown (@Ryan Brown)
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.
Amazing news coming out of #Botswana! Congratulations to our LGBT siblings on this incredibly historic day❤️🏳️🌈… https://t.co/viUn4LIFfC — Stonewall (@Stonewall)
💚 💚 💚 💚
💛 💛 💛
🧡… https://t.co/kZhbhUE0Er — Amnesty International (@Amnesty International)
Botswana has today decriminalized Gay sex! Another win for Africa 🏳️🌈. — Odirile (@Odirile)
The High Court in Botswana has uplifted human rights and decriminalised consensual same-sex sex. In a unanimous rul… https://t.co/4U9ky6lSXq — the pfizer this time (@the pfizer this time)
I just spoke to Letsweletse Motshidiemang, the applicant in the decriminalization case here in Botswana. He was wee… https://t.co/r0VALNd7yu — Ryan Brown (@Ryan Brown)
Same sex relationships DECRIMINALIZED in my beautiful BOTSWANA!!!!!!
🏳️🌈🇧🇼🏳️🌈🇧🇼🏳️🌈… https://t.co/YPWr3JFPjR — marang setshwaelo (@marang setshwaelo)
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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