South-central African country, Angola joins the list of countries to join in the fight against the discrimination and criminalization of LGBT persons by signing a law to that effect.
On Wednesday, January 23rd, Angola’s parliament adopted it’s first new penal code and removed a provision in its law inherited from its Portuguese colonizers that included a ban against “vices against nature” which is interpreted to relate to gay and lesbian sexuality.
The law passed with 155 votes in favor, one against, and seven abstentions.
Although there are no reports of prosecutions under the previous law, advocates say that it is expedient that countries clearly state their stance on LGBT persons / issues and homophobia.
“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,” said Graeme Reid, Director, LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.
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,” Graeme Reid added “The 69 other countries around the world that still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct should follow its lead.”
The Rustin Times celebrates with Angola and uses this as an opportunity to call on several other countries around the world to review sections of their law that criminalizes LGBT persons and puts them as risk.