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Botswana Decriminalizes Homosexuality

The southern African country makes progress towards queer rights.

The High Court of the southern African country of Botswana on Tuesday, June 11 officially decriminalized homosexuality by overturning national laws that imposed up to 7 years of imprisonment or more for same-sex relationships. The decision was unanimous by the High Court’s three judges.

Similar to other laws across the continent, criminalization of same-sex relationships, as well as anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, were mostly created by former colonial governments of Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, and other western European countries. Furthermore, Christian and Muslim religious fundamentalists from inside and outside the continent advocated for additional laws against queer people.

While countries such as Botswana and Angola decriminalized LGBTQIA+ relationships this year, most of Africa remains hostile to queer people. The only country in the continent were LGBTQIA+ equality is extended, including anti-discrimination laws and same-sex marriage equality, is South Africa.

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