Angola Decriminalizes Same-Sex Conduct, Also Criminalizes Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

Angola Decriminalizes Same-Sex Conduct, Also Criminalizes Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

Angola has finally shed the divisive “vices against nature” provision in its law, widely interpreted to be a ban on homosexual conduct.

Taking things one step further, the government has also prohibited discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation.  And so, anyone refusing to employ or provide services to individuals based on their sexual orientation may face up to two years in prison.

The changes came on January 23 as Angola’s parliament adopted its first new penal code since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975, and removed the provision inherited from its Portuguese colonizers. While there have been no known prosecutions under the law, provisions like this one curtail the rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, subjecting their intimate lives to unwarranted scrutiny. Colonial-era laws outlawing same-sex conduct give tacit state support to discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, contributing to a climate of impunity. Iris Angola, the country’s only gay rights lobby group, has often complained that its members face discrimination when accessing health care and education.

Last year Angola gave legal status to Iris Angola, which was established in 2013 – a move that can now be seen as a forerunner for this latest step toward equality. The group called the decision a “historic moment” allowing the organization to defend the rights of sexual minorities in Angola. In contrast, Mozambique, another former Portuguese colony, decriminalized homosexuality in 2015, when it too adopted a new penal code, but declined to register the country’s biggest LGBT group, Lambda, leaving it to operate freely, but not legally.

While countries such as India have been compelled by court rulings to strike anti-homosexuality laws from the books, others have done so through legislative reform. Recent examples include Sao Tome and Principe (2012) and Cape Verde (2004) – two other former Portuguese colonies – as well as Lesotho (2012) and Seychelles (2016) in Africa, and Palau (2014) and Nauru (2016) in Oceania.

In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality. The 69 other countries around the world that still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct should follow its lead.

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  1. Tammy Jonathan
    January 25, 09:40 Reply

    Whereas the worlds most populous African nation with unlimited amount of unaccountable resources is saying there’s no place for homosexuals. yet you can’t even compare the growth of Angola with Nigeria. They’re now way ahead as the most peaceful and fast growing economy in Africa. Nigeria isn’t ready to grow and she will remain where she is until they accept everyone else’ shame on Nigeria.

  2. Mandy
    January 25, 09:59 Reply

    Another African country proves that we’re not all mindless idiots enslaved to our ignorance.

  3. bamidele
    January 25, 10:12 Reply

    Quite a interesting step. Recentlly in an article the leader of Yoruba Ifa Orisa religion/knowledge system (equivaent to the catholic pope), Prof. ‘Wande Abimbola was asked if his religion permit homosxuality. The intelligent man, who is in his 80s gave an interesting answer: While there is no well estabished homosexuality culture, there is no doubt that it existed, especially in urban area and Ifa does not discriminate people on basis of sexuality or private life, as long as you’re not harming others. Therefore, he couldn’t dicriminate people, because that’s not Ifa’s mission. My point is that some of these discriminatory systems were invented, mostly during the colonial era, as we see in the case of Angola. Even Theresa May, British Prime Minister publicly apologized during the last common wealth meeting that some of the laws they established in their colonies ‘were and are wrong’. To make things worse, we now rule our societies through Quran and Bible, while we continue to dehumanize ourselves. Nigeria seems to be dragging herself backward while others (African nations) are moving forward! Even though I am not campaigning, please be warned that we also have to vote out old politicians with old ideas in the forthcoming election–especially PDP and APC. Let’s give fresh ideas a chance… because the old ones will continue to be homophobic!

    • Opal
      January 25, 14:32 Reply

      Fresh, young ones like Fela Durotoye that said LGBT people aren’t marginalized? Or Kingsley Moghalu that couldn’t agree to a PACT that was to be? Or who? If someone is ready to work and capable to look beyond tribe and other differences… let him or her be there.

      • bamidele
        January 25, 16:48 Reply

        Like I said, I do not wish to campaign for any politician, since that’s not what this platform is meant for. Neither was I aware of Durotoye’s and Moghalu’s stand on LGBT. Nevertherless, we all know that PDP enacted this unreasonable strict laws against LGBT. Also, we all know that Buhari will never support LGBT, in addition to the apparent fact that PDP and APC are virtually the same–as we see members transfer flexibly between the two.
        Besides, a major charactersitcs of all these old/recycling leaders is their clueless and corrupting leadership, in which poverty increases, systems are not functioning, etc. But if we have a functioning society, whereby citizens are highly engaged, and the nation is more industrialized, perhaps people could become open-minded and understand that ‘homosexuality is not something from the devil’ as many Nigerians argue. We need progressive thinking people, and you can’t have such with all these analogue leaders.
        Since you mentioned names, I think AAC’s Omoyele Sowore stands out in term of progressive thinking. But then, I don’t know if he’s also made some negative comments about the LGBT. All in all, my hypothesis is that functioning system poses capable in justice towards the LGBTs

    • ROCK
      January 26, 20:53 Reply

      Last I heard Atiku is a family member…So vote for him

  4. Law
    January 25, 10:15 Reply

    just wooooow!!!

  5. Stein
    January 25, 12:24 Reply

    “The 69 other countries…” LOL.

    Go Africa!!! Naija how far?

    • Delle
      January 25, 19:44 Reply

      Sorry, are you trying to be funny?

      Please, ask this question in 2043 ?

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