10.08.2016: BONELA’S REACTION TO THE MAYOR OF FRANCISTOWN’S CALL FOR POLICE BRUTALITY ON SEX WORKERS
The Botswana Network on Ethics Law & HIV/AIDS (#BONELA) is deeply dismayed by the contents of the report found in The Voice newspaper of Friday 5th August 2016 wherein the #Mayor_of_Francistown, Sylvia Muzila is said to have instructed the Police to beat up sex workers.
The Mayor’s call for use of violence against sex workers comes at a time when we least expect it, when leaders around the world are strategizing to combat police brutality on people in violation of their human rights, which should imperatively enjoin the Mayor to be part of this noble effort by leaders who are interested in the promotion of peace in their communities and fostering a human rights oriented police force.
As a leader the mayor should be cautious about her personal views not interfering with her leadership role; which should not be about herself but about the people. Furthermore, the call for violence by the Mayor does not enjoy the support of our aspirations, laws or norms as Batswana. Not only will violence against sex workers violate their basic rights as persons, who in Botswana are mostly women, it will also frustrate the efforts of the government of Botswana to responding to HIV/AIDS.
#BONELA strongly believes that organizing sex workers and keeping them at the centre of the national response to HIV/AIDS will significantly reduce new infections as well as promote access to treatment. The mayor’s call for violence on sex workers therefore poses a serious threat to the efforts of the government of Botswana to improve access to quality HIV/AIDS services as outlined in the Second Botswana National Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS and if heeded would bring about a regression in the formation of an enabling legal environment that is key to combating HIV as espoused by the National Strategy for Behaviour Change Interventions and Communications for HIV/AIDS.
#BONELA consequently views the Mayor’s statement as irresponsible and missing the bigger picture of the national response to HIV/AIDS and in light thereof we call upon the Mayor to retract her statement in an effort to improve the quality of lives of her people.
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