Tag Archives: injustice

Homophobic Policies in Botswana

29 Oct

When I was living in Botswana, every citizen and expatriate knew the laws on homosexuality: it is illegal to have homosexual sex. This law was rarely enforced. 

Now, the government is calling for a campaign against gay men and sex workers in the country, in an attempt to curb the HIV infection rate. Suspected gay men and sex workers will now be arrested and detained, while foreigners of these groups can be detained and/or deported. Read the full story here

I am infuriated by this so-called “HIV prevention strategy.” I truly loved living in Botswana and was aware of many injustices and discriminatory policies, but this is the worst. Not only does this violate the Constitution of Botswana, but it is simply not a legitimate strategy for reducing the infection rates of HIV. While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among sex workers is high, arresting them in certainly not the answer. Prostitution in Botswana is highest in the refugee camp and amongst the most vulnerable groups, and the government should be addressing the underlying issues that lead to prostitution – as well as the severe gender inequality that leads to women (especially sex workers) to be disempowered to insist on condom use. Furthermore, the prevalence rate among men who have sex with men is significantly lower than the national average (9% vs. 17.6%). 

I am absolutely disgusted by the government of Botswana right now. I urge everyone to oppose Member of Parliament John Toto who made an anti-gay speech last week, and to encourage human rights groups like Ditshwanelo and BONELA to stand against this campaign. 


Injustice in the Justice System

26 Mar

Injustice in the Justice System

(Picture Source: Wanda Ratliff, Americans Against the Tea Party)

I love this picture. The top image refers to the misinformed idea that some girls and women invite rape by how they dress. A series of SlutWalks began across North America in response to comments from a Toronto police officer. Michael Sanguinetti, when speaking to Osgoode Hall Law School, said: “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.” This comment was digusting, and women all over Canada and the U.S. spoke out.

But now let’s talk about Trayvon Martin. One month ago, 17 year old Trayvon Martin (140 lbs.) was walking through the Orlando, Florida gated community in which his father lived. 28 year old George Zimmerman (240 lbs.) (Head of the Neighbourhood Watch) saw the young black man in a hoodie, and called the police, saying that there was a “suspicious person” in the gated community. The police said that they were sending someone to investigate, and not to act. George Zimmerman followed, shot and killed Trayvon.

When police arrived at the scene, Zimmerman claimed self-defence. Trayvon was unarmed, and had a bag of Skittles and iced tea in his pocket. Trayvon had grass on his back, which was damp. There are many conflicting witness statements, including one who claims that the police tried to coerce her to change her statement to Zimmerman’s favour. Another said that she was cut off by the police when trying to provide details of what she had witnessed.

Other inappropriate and unprofessional police conduct:

– A narcotics detective, not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman

– From inside the police department: “The detective peppered Zimmerman with questions, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness.

– There is no evidence of self-defence, there is simply a lack of evidence to prove that there wasn’t elf-defense

– Under the law, self-defence has to be proportional

There are evidently many police officers out there who are fantastic at their job, and this should not undermine that. But all of this shows the ineptness and the racism of the police involved in this investigation.
Online talk show host, Cenk Uyger (The Young Turks – awesome program, you should all watch) asks a question: “If a black man had shot an unarmed white man, would the shooter be arrested?” I think hell yes, not even a question. Trayvon was shot because he was black. Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested because he is white. It is occasions like this that perpetuate fear and discrimination.

Zimmerman has still not been arrested. The state has taken over the case, which is a positive sign. Go to http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin and demand the arrest of George Zimmerman.

And on a side note – why on earth does Neighbourhood Watch have a gun?! Keep a watch on Harper to make sure our gun laws don’t turn into the flexible laws in the US.