Botswana progressing in human rights promotion

Botswana is making progress in protecting and promoting human rights, Morwaeng reported. In his presentation before The Human Rights Committee at Geneva, Switzerland, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Honourable Kabo Morwaeng said that the country is doing good on the matter.

“Review sessions of the Human Rights Committee present an invaluable opportunity for our country to examine and reaffirm its collective values, efforts and aspirations in the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all peoples.” said Minister Morwaeng.

Below are some of the steps which the government has taken in an effort to protect and promote human rights and equality;

  1. To domesticate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Parliament in July 2021 approved the Revised Disability Policy. To facilitate the effective implementation of the Policy, the Draft Disability Bill is being drafted.
  2. Still in July 2021 Parliament passed the Ombudsman amendment Bill with the object of conferring the human rights mandate on the Office of the Ombudsman in accordance with the Paris Principles.
  3. To close the gender gap in Women’s Representation in Parliament, a deliberate decision was taken to increase the number of women appointed as Specially Elected Members of Parliament which currently stands at Sixty-seven percent (67%). At the level of Local Authorities, the compliment of women nominated for positions of Councillors is at Thirty-six (36%). Moreover, women also constitute forty-six-point six percent (46.6%) of the Executive Cadre within the Public Service.
  4. In 2020, Government adopted the National Social Protection Framework aimed at reducing inequalities and promoting social upliftment;
  • To enhance the capacity of the poor and vulnerable to better manage risks throughout the lifecycle;
  • To promote improved nutrition, health and education;
  • To ensure basic income security and access to social services;
  • To establish information systems that support regular monitoring and evaluation of programmes; and
  • To ensure that resources reach the intended beneficiaries.
  1. In 2014, the governmentovernment introduced the Affirmative Action Framework for Remote Area Communities (2014). This Framework facilitates Remote Area Communities to benefit from national programmes across different sectors, including economic empowerment initiatives, that affords them the opportunity to participate in the socio-economic development of the country.
  2. To address violence against women and children, Parliament enacted the Sexual Offences Registry Act (No.7 2021). Specialised Courts were also established to speed up the adjudication of GBV cases. In addition, the Gender and Child Protection Unit was established by the Botswana Police Service to promote reporting, including by children. Furthermore, the Inter-Ministerial Committee and a Technical Committee on GBV were established to coordinate and guide the National GBV Response. Additional services include, on-line counselling as well as increasing toll-free lines for reporting GBV.
  3. In order to increase and foster stakeholder participation in child rights education, the Government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with an NGO, Childline Botswana. UNICEF Botswana, in partnership with Government of Botswana have also mounted a child protection campaign called β€œ#Eseng mo ngwaneng”, loosely translated β€œtouch not the child”.

Moreover, the government is doing the following at national level;

  • Prioritising issues of concern and mobilise resources for such;
  • Raising of public awareness and undertaking community consultations and dialogues on issues of national concern;
  • Mainstreaming Gender into the Customary System and capacity building of Dikgosi (Traditional Leaders);
  • Capacity development of women standing for elections;
  • Capacity development for reforms in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development such as Zero-based Budgeting and Gender Responsive Budgeting.

Minister Morwaeng further assured the Committee that the Government of Botswana remains committed to upholding the rule of law, empowerment of citizens to hold Government accountable, and ensuring that all citizens of Botswana and its residents fully enjoy their human rights.

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