Sunday, December 3, 2023

Botswana’s human rights performance found wanting

The Botswana government recently came under attack for its controversial decisions on some key human rights issues. This emerged last week at a gathering to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the declaration of human rights by the United Nations General Assembly.

Botswana Network on Ethics and Law on HIV and AIDS (BONELA) was the first to join the international community in recognizing and celebrating this day.
Uyapo Ndadi of BONELA said that even though Botswana continues to enjoy international accolades for her outstanding strategies on HIV-Aids, a lot still remains to be done.

Ndadi pointed out that Government still has differential treatment for citizens and non-citizens.

“Moreover, even inmates, a majority of whom are citizens, continue to be denied treatment on the basis that the authorities do not recognize same sex relationships. Refugees are also denied free access to treatment,” said Ndadi.
In so doing, he said, government subjects those who are affected to degrading and inhuman torture.

Ndadi also challenged President Ian Khama to introduce initiatives that will prove his commitment to the remarks that he made at the recent World AIDS day commemorations in Kasane, where he highlighted the need to get rid of discriminatory laws, policies and practices.

Botswana has also been slammed for being one of the few countries in the region that have no law protecting job applicants and employees who live with HIV in the workplace. As a result workers suffer the indignity of losing jobs because of their HIV status.

Government has also been highlighted as a violator of non ÔÇô citizen’s right to privacy, because of her insistence on testing expatriate job applicants.

Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary general, has in the past called on all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the HIV/AIDS response.

Speaking on the occasion of the Human Rights Day, he said that in many countries legal frameworks institutionalize discrimination against groups most at risk of HIV-Aids.
The UN Chief added that, this is despite the fact that discrimination against sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men only fuels the epidemic and prevents cost-effective interventions.


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