The country’s parliamentarians who voted to overhaul Angola’s criminal statute books did not just remove the passage. They also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The reform has been hailed by human rights activists who have been pushing for equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in Angola and other African countries.
“The law decriminalising homosexuality adopted in Angola in 2019 took effect today,” LGBTQ+ rights advocate Jean-Luc Romero-Michel tweeted. “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is now reprehensible and even punishable by prison.”
He said it was “a great step forward” in the fight against state-sponsored discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
Proscription of the LGBTQ+ community was included in the country’s penal code in 1888 when the southwest African nation was still a Portuguese colony. The government said homosexuality was one of many “vices against nature”.
There was a provision in its law that could send same-sex couples to prison for at least 14 years.
The decriminalization of LGBTQ+ in Angola came a week after United States President Joe Biden began a global push for legislation of LGBTQ+ rights.
Biden in a statement on Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World directed American Embassy in Nigeria and other countries to push for the legalisation of homosexuality in their respective countries of residence.
The US president said the memorandum reaffirms and supplements the principles established in the Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 (International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons).
“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden said.
“Through this memorandum, I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”
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