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Govt ordered to register homosexual society


A marathon case involving the government and a group of homosexual citizens over the registration of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) society was settled on Friday after the high court ruled in favour of the group.


Justice Tebogo Rannowane of the Gaborone high court ordered the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs to register the society whose application it rejected two years ago on the basis that homosexuality was illegal in the country.
However the Judge indicated that although homosexual sex was illegal in the country, homosexuality itself was not illegal.


“It is not a crime for one to be attracted to people of one’s own sex and this has nothing to do with the constitution,” Motswagole pointed out.


The constitution of Botswana prohibits “sex against the order of nature,” and the government has been for years refusing to register LEGABIBO for fear that it wants to promote the prohibited act.


In February, 2012, LEGABIBO filed an application for the registration of the organisation. The following Month in March, the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the application on grounds that “Botswana’s constitution does not recognise homosexuals.”


A series of appeals followed and ultimately the court case which was filed in March this year. However the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu strongly opposed the application and even filed an answering affidavit in respect of the application.


But the court maintains that LEGABIBO’s intentions are quite harmless and in fact promote good values such as the promotion of a culture of self reliance, human rights of all people without discrimination, support of public health interests of members and education of the general public on issues of human rights amongst others.


However, Justice Rannowane suspect that the decision to deny LEGABIBO the right to register was political.


“I have thought is worthwhile to pick out article 4.5 for closer examination because it is probably the one which influenced the authorities to refuse the registration of the society,” the Judge noted.


The said article provides that one of LEGABIBO’s mandate would be “to carry out political lobbying for equal rights and decriminalisation of same sex relationships.”


But the judge is of the view that there is nothing sinister or unlawful about the process of lobbying or advocacy.


“Registering a society for the purpose of lobbying for legislative reforms to make same sex sexual relationships legal is therefore not a crime, neither does it give any appearance of being likely to be used for any unlawful purpose, nor prejudicial to, or incompatible with peace, welfare and good order in Botswana,” Rannowane further stated.


The judgment was delivered a day after the country’s President, Ian Khama Seretse Khama declared Botswana a shining example in as far as human rights activities are concerned.


In his state of the nation address, which was the first since the October elections of the eleventh Parliament, Khama pledged his commitment to implementing the government obligations under the international human rights instruments which it is party to. The obligations include the promotion of the rights of all Batswana and citizens.


Khama declared that his government has taken the decision to establish an institution that will address issues of human rights that will address issues of maladministration and human rights. He promised that Parliament would in the near future be given the opportunity to decide on the matter.  


“We have decided to develop a Comprehensive Human Rights Strategy and National Action Plan to address the commitments Botswana has undertaken under the various human rights treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.


At the time of going to print, LEGABIBO representatives were busy preparing to register the society with the backing of the court judgment and at the time the government had not indicated its intention to appeal the matter.
 

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According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

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“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

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Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

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“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

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