On March 18, 2016 Care2 reported: Botswana’s top court has ruled that, regardless of moral disapproval, the government cannot ban gay rights advocates from forming political action groups. This crucial affirmation of civil rights could have wider meaning for LGBT organizations in the country and beyond.
In 2014 Botswana’s High Court ruled against the government to affirm that Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana cannot be prevented from registering as a non-governmental organization. The Court also acknowledged that LGBT groups are entitled to campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention and fight anti-gay legislation.
Botswana’s government decried the outcome and appealed to the Court of Appeals. Now, the Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling, stating that forming such a group is a fundamental right.
“It is clear that the government’s decision [to seek the ban] interferes in the most fundamental way with the respondents’ right to form an association to protect and promote their interest,” Judge Ian Kirby wrote on behalf of the five panel court.
As for the government’s contention that such a group might encourage members to break the law, the judges were not convinced: “That concern or reason for refusal was irrational on the evidence before us, so there can be no question of his decision being necessary in the interests of public order.”
The organization, known as LEGABIBO first applied for registration in 2005 and was refused. The group reapplied in 2012, but again, the government rejected them.