Botswana’s high court this week overturned a colonial-era law that punished gay sex by up to seven years in prison.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in more than 70 countries worldwide; almost half of them in Africa, where homosexuality is broadly taboo and persecution is rife.

Discrimination has no place in this world. All human beings are born equal. Homosexuality is another form of sexuality that has been suppressed for years, Justice Michael Leburu said. 

The case, which local media reported had been brought by a university student, argued the government should do away with the law in light of a changed society where homosexuality was more widely accepted. 

Rights group Amnesty International welcomed the decision as marking an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit. 

With this ruling, Botswana has said no to intolerance and hate and yes to hope and equality for all people, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty Internationals deputy director for Southern Africa, said in a statement.

Botswanas ruling comes after Kenyas high court upheld its law banning gay sex, keeping same sex relations punishable by 14 years in jail, drawing strong criticism from the United Nations and rights activists.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi also signaled his support for same-sex relations in a speech in December 2018, where he said LGBT citizens deserve to have their rights protected.

Botswana is the latest country in Africa to decriminalize same sex relations, with Amnesty saying it follows Angola in January, Seychelles in June 2016, Mozambique in June 2015 and Sao Tome and Principe, and Lesotho in 2012. 

South Africa is the only African nation to have legalized gay marriage.