International Journal of Law and Legal Studies

International Journal of Law and Legal Studies ISSN 2463-5634 Vol. 4 (7), pp. 222-231, December, 2016. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Effects of customary laws on basic human rights of women in Botswana

Nijel Amantle Chiepe1*, Mompati H. Roy1, Quett D. Khama2 and Kabelo Mpule Merafhe2

1Groupe ESC Pau - Campus Universitaire, Saint John Perse - BP7512 - 64075 Pau, France.

2Faculty: Social Sciences, Department of Law, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.


Accepted 20 October, 2016


In Botswana, society continues to operate under a dual legal system: an indigenously-based customary legal system, and received law, that is, the Constitution, based on a system inherited from the former colonial state. The fact that the constitution places prominence on custom within a range of contexts is particularly significant for women's rights. How far the Government is able to promote basic women's rights and to what extent customary law takes precedence over constitutional law are two legitimate questions yet to be clearly settled. This paper examines how customary law may be contrary to the basic human rights of women, by means of investigating the role of several civil society organisations that act to promote democracy and defend women's human rights. Moreover, the article assesses Botswana's current level of legislative compliance with international obligations, in seeking to identify priorities for working towards greater future compliance.

Key words: Botswana, gender, conflict, culture, civil society.