Attorney General v Dow
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Attorney General of Botswana v. Unity Dow (sometimes abbreviated Attorney General v. Dow) was a High Court case in the Republic of Botswana. The plaintiff, Unity Dow, was a citizen of Botswana, married to a non-citizen, whose children had been denied citizenship under a provision of the Citizenship Act of 1984. This Act conferred citizenship on a child born in Botswana only if "a) his father was a citizen of Botswana; or b) in the case of a person born out-of-wedlock, his mother was a citizen of Botswana." The plaintiff claimed that this provision violated guarantees of the Constitution of Botswana. The High Court agreed, holding that the provision infringed:
- the right to liberty;
- the right not to be expelled from Botswana;
- the right not to be subjected to degrading treatment; and
- the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex.
The Court concluded that the right to liberty had been infringed because the provision hampered a woman's free choice to marry a non-citizen and, in fact, undermined marriage. The Court also decided that the right not to be expelled from Botswana was infringed because, if the plaintiff's resident permit was not renewed, she would be forced to leave Botswana if she desired to stay with her family. Finally, the Court stated that the right not to be subjected to degrading treatment was infringed because any law discriminating against women constitutes an offense against human dignity.