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On Tuesday, June 11, the High Court of Botswana issued a unanimous decision decriminalizing same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) hailed “this incredibly life-changing decision” as a critical step to ensuring equal protection of human rights for all individuals in the country. Parexel is proud to share the story of how one of our employees contributed to this hard-fought case.
Mariano Fanatico, Buenos-Aires-based Parexel Proposals Specialist, has been passionate about human rights issues since childhood. “I always had an interest in international law and history and conflicts related to human rights violations,” Mariano says. “I have a service spirit, I like serving and helping people.” In 2018, Mariano met a representative from SALC while attending a human rights congress in Argentina. As he learned more about the organization and their ongoing advocacy, Mariano offered to help as a volunteer intern. SALC accepted and invited Mariano to join them in South Africa beginning in February 2019.
During the two months that followed, Mariano had to cover his own travel and lodging expenses. In addition, he arranged to work for Parexel remotely during his free time, which allowed him to stay in South Africa beyond his remaining paid-time-off.
Despite these challenges, Mariano remained committed to his work at SALC. He leveraged the legal training he received at the University of Buenos Aires – performing research and drafting memos for the Botswana case and others. This was a critical time for SALC as the Botswana case headed toward a final hearing on March 15. Mariano attended the hearing in Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone, along with other activists and fellow SALC team members.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences,” Mariano reflects. “Just the possibility of being there at that historical moment was one of the most memorable days of my life.”
Today, we join the people of Botswana, LGBTQ+ community members and allies around the world in thanking Mariano and SALC for their devotion to achieving this landmark victory!
“I always had an interest in international law and history and conflicts related to human rights violations. I have a service spirit, I like serving and helping people.”
-Mariano Fanatico, Proposals Specialist, Parexel
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