A landmark case in Botswana has paved the way for lobby groups in other African countries potentially to challenge laws that infringe on their freedoms. The case, brought forward by a civil society grouping fighting for the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals, changes the landscape for activism in Botswana and potentially elsewhere. By CAROLINE JAMES.
For many people working in civil society around the world, the threat of a shrinking civic space is very real. It is becoming harder and harder to work effectively due to factors such as decreased funding and increased surveillance. In Africa, one of the main areas of concern is over legislation that seeks to regulate NGOs’ operation – and laws like this are becoming disturbingly commonplace.
In Uganda, activists criticised the adoption of a new law last week which precludes the registration of any organisation that has objectives which would be “prejudicial to the security of Uganda and to the interests of Uganda and the dignity of Ugandans”. Their concern was that the vague wording of this provision creates the potential for abuse, as officials would be empowered to deny registration to organisations which they believe may be contrary to public morality, such as those working for recognition of sexual minorities’ rights.
Source: Daily Maverick