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Botswana Court Decriminalises Gay Sex

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Botswana has become the latest country to decriminalise gay sex when the High Court rejected as unconstitutional sections of the penal code that punish same-sex relations with up to seven years in prison.

Jubilant activists in the packed courtroom cheered the unanimous decision in the southern African nation that is seen as one of the continent’s most stable and democratic.

The ruling came less than a month after Kenya’s High Court had upheld similar sections of its own penal code in another closely watched case.

More than two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws criminalising gay sex, often holdovers from colonial times.

Earlier this year, the southern African nation of Angola decriminalised same-sex activity and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Those arguing against the laws say they leave people in the LGBT community vulnerable to discrimination and abuse while making it difficult to access basic health and other services.

Tuesday’s ruling led to rejoicing from rights groups that had expressed frustration with the Kenyan decision last month, including ones in countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana where gay sex remains illegal.

Botswana’s High Court said in its ruling that penalising people for who they are is disrespectful, and that the law should not deal with private acts between consenting adults.

The right to privacy includes sexual orientation, which is innate and not a “fashion statement,” the judges said.

Source:news.com.au

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