Researcher, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program

Monica Tabengwa is a human rights defender and an activist from Botswana, where she has practiced law for more than 15 years.

A leader in Botswana civil society, Tabengwa worked as a legal practitioner and advocate for vulnerable groups like women, children, and sexual minorities and is a member of the Lawyers Task Force on Ethics and the Law Society of Botswana. She was invited by a member of parliament to introduce the Domestic Violence Bill, which passed 10 years later. In Geneva, she produced and presented Botswana’s first shadow report on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a comprehensive understanding of women’s lives in Botswana. She took on cases dealing with human rights violations on the basis of HIV status, has successfully defended LGBT cases, and has written papers on the legal framework of human rights for LGBT people in Botswana. Tabengwa was part of a team conducting a litigation strategy to decriminalize same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults.

Tabengwa received the Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2001-2002, which allowed her to study gender, development and women studies at Rutgers University in the United States. She holds a law degree from the University of Botswana.