Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) has applied to the Registrar of Societies for the registration of a sex workers association.
The association wishes to be registered under the name Sisionke.
The out-going executive director of BONELA, Uyapo Ndadi, told members of BONELA at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Friday that they are waiting for a response from the Registrar of Societies
This will be the second attempt by BONELA to try to register an association for minority groups.┬á
Two years ago, the organisation unsuccessfully tried to register an organisation for homosexuals but the application was rejected by the Registrar of Societies. The matter is now before the courts.
On other issues, Ndadi said that they have approached the Ministry of Health (MoH) requesting government to procure lubricants for same sex partners as part of the national HIV/AIDS prevention package. He said the lubricants will be freely provided just like condoms. “Same sex partners must also enjoy sex. We hope government will soon roll out the lubricants,” he said.
Giving her keynote address, Attorney General, Dr Athalia Molokomme commended BONELA for its job and said that they must fight hard for the rights of the minorities.
┬áShe said government has put unprecedented resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS and therefore it is important that BONELA partners with government in finding a solution.
┬á“It is your responsibility to lobby for your own ideas. It is your right and this is democracy. In the final analysis, it is the balance of interest of you and that of the nation that the government has to take into consideration. We need to be tolerant to each other,” she said.
She also paid tribute to Ndadi who will be leaving BONELA in December. Molokomme said Ndadi was a fighter for human rights.
BONELA board chairperson, Tshiamo Rantao urged civil society particularly advocates for human rights to unite and work together. He said a weak and disjointed civil society is a disservice to Botswana and it weakens democracy.
“The destiny of Botswana is not only in the hands of the rulers but the masses. In fact the masses can be more powerful if united,” he said.