Association

Freedom of association is coming under threat in Botswana due to the overreach of the state security agency, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS). Civil society groups in Botswana are critical of DISS’ intrusive intelligence methods that undermine basic rights and create a climate of fear. Trade unions, political parties and media organisations all complained – particularly in the run-up to October 2014 elections – about intrusion into their affairs.Freedom of association received a boost in November 2014 following a High Court ruling ordering government to register The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), an NGO promoting the rights of sexual minorities. The court said government’s refusal to register LEGABIBO was unlawful because it ‘violated the applicants’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly’. Not backing down, the government has subsequently appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeal.