It will be legal to be gay in Angola from February 2021

Photo: Associação Íris Angola / Facebook

A 134-year-old colonial-era ban on homosexuality will come to an end in Angola next year as new LGBTQ protections are added to the law.

The country’s new Penal Code and Penal Procedure Code were formally published by the state’s Diário da República on 11 November after the final version of the legislation was passed by the National Assembly.

Equal Eyes reports that as from February 2021, the penal code will no longer criminalise “vices against nature”, which is widely understood to refer to gay and lesbian sexuality.

Although the 1886 law has not been used by the state to prosecute LGBTQ people in modern times, the development is a landmark statement against homophobia in Angola and the rest of Africa.

Under the new code, penalties will also be made more severe if they are based on discrimination.

This includes threats made on the basis of “race, colour, ethnicity, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, illness or physical disability or psychic, belief or religion, political or ideological convictions, condition or social origin or any other forms of discrimination.”

The first draft of the new penal code was approved in January 2019, which made international headlines, but the final version was only passed by lawmakers later in the year.

According to Jornal de Angola, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Francisco Queiroz commented that the publishing of the new code “is another step in the consolidation of national sovereignty”.

He asserted that it was time that “Angola stops using inherited laws from the colonial administration and starts to use a Penal Code inspired by its political, legal and social reality”.

Queiroz added that the new code “is based on the dignity of the human person” and “is aligned with the most modern solutions at the international level”.

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