New Angolan Criminal Code decriminalizes homosexuality

The new Angolan Penal Code, approved Wednesday by the Parliament, decriminalizes homosexual relations in Angola

From now on, no one, in Angola, can be sentenced based on their sexual orientation, a measure already commended by Human Rights Watch (HRW). The new Angolan criminal rules are replacing the Penal Code from the time of the Portuguese colonial administration, dating from 1886, in which in the first paragraph of article 71, it is established that security measures (detention) will be applied "to those who habitually give themselves to the practice of unnatural vices."

In the new Code, at the same article but in point (c), it is defined that crimes based on discrimination, in which sexual orientation is included, constitute relevant circumstances for determining the measure of punishment.

Similarly, the new Angolan Criminal Code which ended the 133-year term of the previous one, albeit with additions over time, also indicates that anyone who refuses to employ a person on the basis of sexual orientation may be sentenced to a maximum sentence of two years.

However, the new Angolan Code does not yet address or provide for any clear legislative measures on same-sex marriage, as well as other issues related to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues.

This is the second time that João Lourenço's Government, in power since September, 2017, has approved a measure against discrimination based on sexual orientation, after, in June. 2018, it legalized the Iris Angola Association, which defends the LGBT cause.

The international organization HRW commended today the decision to decriminalize homosexuality in Angola, recalling the legacy of the Portuguese colonial period.

"Angola has finally withdrawn the clause mentioning 'unnatural vices' from its legislation," the HRW statement reads, recalling that 69 countries around the world still criminalize homosexual behavior.

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