Joint Statement on Court of Appeals Decision on Decriminalization:  A Victory for Human Rights and LGBTQI+ Persons 

Press Release

November 29, 2021


The Embassy of the United States of America, the Embassy of France, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Delegation of the European Union, the British High Commission, the Australian High Commission, and the High Commission of Canada welcome the Botswana Court of Appeals decision to affirm the repeal of Section 164 of the Penal Code.  We celebrate the Court’s commitment to ensure equality before the law.

This decision is a strong statement of support for the fundamental human rights of LGBTQI+ persons and for all people of Botswana.  All human beings deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love.  Botswana’s commitment to these ideals is a model of respect for human rights for all countries.  The Court of Appeals ruling to uphold the 2019 High Court decision striking down Section 164, which forbade same-sex relations under a colonial era sodomy law, is further proof of this commitment.

Today’s decision also shows the power of change.  Botswana has changed significantly since Section 164 was written into the Penal Code 57 years ago.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of LGBTQI+ advocates to stand up for their human rights, Botswana’s laws are being updated to reflect this change.  With this historic development, Botswana serves as a beacon for all those who struggle worldwide for recognition of their universal human rights.

For additional information, please contact the U.S. Embassy Press Office at 373-2419 or