Botswana president speaks up for LGBTI rights

There is new hope for LGBTI persons in Botswana because the south African country’s new president is advocating for LGBTI rights.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

In November, when Botswana‘s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, gave a speech against violence on women and children, he also emphasized the rights of LGBTI people. He made it clear that LGBTI people should have the same rights as every other citizen.

“There are also many people of same-sex relationships in this country, who have been violated and have also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated,” Masisii told the crowd. “Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected.”

Masisi “called on society to remember all those victims and communities that are vulnerable to violence and abuse,” Mamba reported.

The speech came after a widely viewed video on social media showed a transgender woman beaten and abused by a mob in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.

Botswana’s LGBTI rights organization, Legabibo, expressed its thanks to Masisi for his speech.

“We are incredibly grateful to hear our sitting President speak openly and publicly on the need to protect those in same-sex relationships who have been violated. We are pleased that you named aloud the violence that members of our community suffer in their daily lives,” the group said.

Legabibo urged Botswanan officials to criticize the religious leaders who “fuel hatred toward LGBTI persons.” It asked Masisi to issue a statement to all civil servants “that LGBTI people are citizens of this country, and like all other citizens, cannot be denied services available to the general public.”

Legabibo called on Masisi to work to decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships in Botswana, “because this unjust law is the basis of violence directed at members of our community.

In March, the Botswana High Court is scheduled to hear Legabibo’s lawsuit challenging Botswana’s anti-homosexuality law.

This article was edited by Gerard Adams. It includes information from UNAIDS’ s Equal Eyes news summaries.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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