The promotional missions have given
the Commission, an opportunity to initiate dialogue with African States and
other stakeholders involved with the promotion and protection of human rights
in Africa. It is in this light that Commissioner Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Member of
the African Commission and Commissioner responsible for human rights promotion
in Botswana visited the Republic of Botswana from 14 – 18 February 2005.
Commissioner Nyanduga was accompanied to the mission by Robert Eno from the
African Commission’s Secretariat.
On the Police
The Government should introduce human rights as a module in the training of the police.
Indigenous populations – the Basarwa community
The Government should engage the indigenous Basarwa communities in further dialogue and explore ways of communicating with them. Assistance given to them should be accompanied with training and support mechanisms, uplift their social wellbeing without prejudicing their culture and traditions.
On the Death penalty
The Government should adopt a moratorium on the question of the death penalty and undertake extensive studies on the human rights implications of the death penalty. Subjecting the question of the death penalty to public opinion, especially if the public has not been sensitized on the human rights implications, will not produce a fair result.
On Corporal punishment
The Government should explore an alternative to corporal punishment because it has been found to be a degrading and inhuman punishment. In the case of Botswana, it can also be said to be discriminatory as it is administered only to men, and only to men of a certain age bracket. Alternatives such as community service could be adopted.
On the Ombudsman
The Government should explore the possibility of establishing a National Human Rights Commission in conformity with the Paris Principles or elevate the Ombudsman to that status. To allay criticisms regarding the independence of the Ombudsman, its budget should be voted by Parliament and the Ombudsman should be appointed by Parliament and confirmed by the Executive.
The African Commission welcomes the efforts by the Government to submit its overdue state reports. The Government should redouble its efforts towards meeting its State Reporting obligations as contained in Article 62 of the African Charter.
Ratification of Protocols
The Government of the Republic of Botswana should take the necessary steps to ratify the Protocol on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. In view of the fact that the African Union has decided to merge the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court of Justice, the Government of the Republic of Botswana should also take the necessary steps to ratify the protocol on the African Court of Justice.
The African Commission would like to see more Botswana NGOs apply for observer status and take part in the sessions of the African Commission.
Botswana is one of the most stable democratic states in Africa based on a long tradition of multiparty politics and a vibrant and prudentially managed economy. Botswana has since 1969 regularly held popular general elections for its members of parliament, during which time the President of the Republic is elected. Bearing in mind that the Head of State of Botswana is an executive President, with wide ranging powers, the African Commission recommends that Botswana Government explore the possibility of constitutional reforms to allow for the election of the President by adult universal suffrage, in accordance with Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.