Angola’s parliament voted to remove the so-called “vices against nature” provision in a newly adopted penal code, in effect decriminalizing all same-sex conduct. In addition, the government has also banned discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, with offenders liable to face up to two years in jail.
Speaking in Geneva, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) welcomed the development. Rupert Colville said that the Government has also prohibited discrimination against people based on sexual orientation.
The UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, added that such legislation “was one of the root causes behind grave and pervasive human rights violations against gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual people”.
Madrigal-Borloz urged other States to follow Angola’s move, adding that “all other countries that still criminalize homosexuality, must observe these processes of decriminalization as motivation to examine their own legal frameworks, and to bring themselves to full compliance with this human rights imperative”.
Of the 193 countries recognized by the UN, 68 still criminalize same-sex conduct.
Homosexuality remains illegal in several African countries, where antiquated colonial-era laws are maintained. In Nigeria, for instance, homosexuality is punishable by a 14-year jail term after an anti-gay law was passed in 2014; in Uganda and Zambia, the maximum penalty is life; and in Tanzania, an anti-gay crackdown, including arrests, has drawn international criticism and seen aid donors suspend donations.