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Fri Jan 25, 2019, 07:09 PM

Angola Has Decriminalized Gay Sex [View all]

Angola has abolished a colonial-era law widely interpreted as banning same-sex relations. The southern African country’s parliament also declared it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation, instituting a two-year jail term for violating it.

Angola, which gained independence from Portugal in 1975, has had no documented prosecutions for same-sex conduct under the old law, according to Human Rights Watch. But the organization maintained that the decision would still ensure greater protection of the Angolan LGBT community, which has reported instances of discrimination when seeking health care services.

“They are taking a proactive step in preventing discrimination, rather than just getting rid of a discriminatory law,” Human Rights Watch Director of LGBT reform Graeme Reid told BuzzFeed News. Last year’s legal status granted to Angola’s only LGBT advocacy group, Iris Angola, gave an early indication that the courts would revise the colonial relic.

Angola joins two other Portuguese-speaking African countries — 'São Tomé and Príncipe' in 2012 and Cape Verde in 2004, respectively — to decriminalize same-sex conduct.

“In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality,” Human Rights Watch’s statement said. “The 69 other countries around the world that still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct should follow its lead.” Angolans and others around the world went on Twitter to celebrate the landmark decision.


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