PRESS STATEMENT - FELIPA DE SOUZA AWARD 16 - 17 MAY 2000
DITSHWANELO - the Botswana Centre for Human Rights is a recipient of the Felipa de Souza Award in New York, for its contribution to the increasing awareness of gay, lesbian and bisexual issues in Botswana. The Awards took place in New York on 16 and 17 May 2000.
The Felipa de Souza Awards are an annual event organised by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). The IGLHRC is a non-governmental organisation with offices in San Francisco and New York. Its mission is to protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV sero status, through documentation, advocacy, coalition building, public education and technical assistance. The awards are aimed at bringing public recognition of individuals or organisations who have made significant contributions towards the securing of human rights and freedoms of sexual minorities around the world.
In May 1998, DITSHWANELO held a workshop for concerned gay, lesbian and bisexual people that facilitated the formation of a coherent group called LEGABIBO (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana). A human rights charter was produced as a result of the workshop and adopted on 20 August 1998. The Charter highlights the concerns and aspirations of the gay, lesbian and bisexual community in Botswana. DITSHWANELO is working with LEGABIBO to promote tolerance and awareness through the break down of the negative image, prejudice, stigma and discrimination facing gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
DITSHWANELO is an advocacy organization that plays a key role in promotion and protection of human rights in the Botswana society. The Centre seeks to affirm human dignity and equality irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, social status, or political convictions. In pursuit of this mission, we seek to educate, research, counsel, and mediate on issues of Human Rights, with specific reference to the marginalised and disempowered. However, due to our commitment to this indivisible nature of Human Rights, this mission extends to regional and international levels.
DITSHWANELO is greatly honoured to have been nominated for this year’s award. The centre will continue to make contributions and advocate on behalf of the gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Botswana and to facilitate public awareness of Gay Human Rights issues.
17 May 2000