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10th December 2015

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BOTSWANA MUST RECTIFY THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENANT ON ECONOMIC AND SOCIO-CULTURAL RIGHTS

12363132 1222834317730316 730411795568373733 oToday, 10th December 2015; the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), joined the world to commemorate Human Rights Day under the theme: Our Rights our Freedoms, Always. The theme coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

BONELA is concerned, that despite numerous attempts to push the government of Botswana to sign the ICESCR, the government has regrettably remained silent and ignored calls for ratification. The government’s reluctance to rectify the ICESCR, limits access to health as the right to health is not guaranteed by the Botswana constitution. BONELA therefore calls on government to show its commitment to upholding the right to health by signing, ratifying and domesticate the ICESCR. The theme is also relevant for Botswana, recognizing that the rights and freedoms of marginalized communities are often limited under the pretext of religion, culture and morality.

BONELA started commemoration activities with a peaceful march from the National Stadium to Ministry of Health Headquarters in Gaborone, where a position paper on Human Rights, Health and HIV was handed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Ms El Halabi.

When delivering the position paper, Ms Felistus Motimedi, Programmes Manager at BONELA, called on government, through Ministry of Health to:

  • Recognize civil society organizations as equal partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS
  • Enhance coordination of the multi-sectoral response
  • Maintain HIV as a major health problem in Botswana and ensure adequate allocation of resources
  • Address issues of stigma and discrimination and criminalization of key affected populations such as Sex Workers and the LGBTI community
  • Address issues related to Intellectual Property(IP) and use of public health safe guards such as compulsory licensing, when needed to ensure access to essential medicines, particularly patented HIV , TB and Hepatitis C medicines in local facilities
  • Avail information to all stakeholders for meaningful engagement and participation

In response to the position paper, Mrs El Halabi acknowledged the need to work through effective partnerships and she further implored BONELA to continue engaging the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders on Human Rights, HIV and other related health issues.

Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. This year’s theme reinforces the importance of recognizing, promoting, protecting and fulfilling the right freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear-which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights

 

For more information contact BONELA on:

+267 393 2516 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and follow BONELA on Twitter on @ bonelaethics and like our Facebook Page BONELA


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