Category Archives: Central Africa – Angola

Angola approves same sex marriage upon US pressure.

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The decriminalization of LGBTQ+ in Angola came a week after United States President Joe Biden began a global push for legislation of LGBTQ+ rights.

Angola has legalised same-sex marriage 133 years after the proscription of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in the country.

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The country’s parliamentarians who voted to overhaul Angola’s criminal statute books did not just remove the passage. They also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The reform has been hailed by human rights activists who have been pushing for equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in Angola and other African countries.

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“The law decriminalising homosexuality adopted in Angola in 2019 took effect today,” LGBTQ+ rights advocate Jean-Luc Romero-Michel tweeted. “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is now reprehensible and even punishable by prison.”

He said it was “a great step forward” in the fight against state-sponsored discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

Proscription of the LGBTQ+ community was included in the country’s penal code in 1888 when the southwest African nation was still a Portuguese colony. The government said homosexuality was one of many “vices against nature”.

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There was a provision in its law that could send same-sex couples to prison for at least 14 years.

The decriminalization of LGBTQ+ in Angola came a week after United States President Joe Biden began a global push for legislation of LGBTQ+ rights.

Biden in a statement on Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World directed American Embassy in Nigeria and other countries to push for the legalisation of homosexuality in their respective countries of residence.

The US president said the memorandum reaffirms and supplements the principles established in the Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 (International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons).

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“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden said.

“Through this memorandum, I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”

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#Newsworthy

Police ‘tear-gas’ anti-gov’t protesters in Angola.

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Disenchantment towards the government has been mounting, prompting several marches against Luanda

Angolan police on Thursday fired tear gas at youths rallying in Luanda against police brutality and economic hardship, days after several protesters were killed in a crackdown in the country’s northeast.

Around 100 demonstrators were dispersed in the capital as they gathered on Liberation Day — a public holiday marking the start of armed uprising against Portuguese colonial rule — to stage unauthorised anti-government demonstrations.

In addition to poor living conditions, alleged state corruption and delayed local elections, the activists were also denouncing a violent police crackdown on a separatist protest that left at least six dead.

Security forces on horseback were already on stand-by when the demonstrators gathered for their march, dispersing them with batons and tear gas and arresting dozens of people.

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Some of the protesters hurled stones in retaliation, an AFP reporter said.

The crackdown took place as Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Angolan government to restrain “excessive” use of force and firearms against peaceful demonstrations.

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Security forces have violently dispersed a string of anti-government protests that gained momentum over the second half of 2020, firing live bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Saturday, they opened fire on a group of separatists marching in the remote diamond mining town of Cafunfo, around 750 kilometres (470 miles) east of Luanda.

Demonstrators carry an Angola national flag in Luanda on February 4, 2021 during a demonstration against police brutality, days after several separatists were killed in a thwarted protest in the country’s northeast. – Dozens of demonstrators were dispersed as they gathered on Liberation Day — a public holiday marking the start of armed uprising against Portuguese colonial rule — to stage banned anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Osvaldo Silva / AFP)

HRW claims at least 10 unarmed protesters were killed, 20 injured and 16 detained — higher than the death toll first reported by police, who allege they were acting in self-defence.

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The government has vowed to open an investigation into the incident.

“Accountability for serious abuses by security forces is essential to prevent their recurrence,” HRW Africa researcher Zeinada Machado said in a statement on Thursday.

Public protests were relatively rare in Angola and were often targeted by security forces during the reign of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017.

His successor Joao Lourenco had raised hopes of change after almost four decades marked by graft and nepotism, but that was shortlived.

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Disenchantment towards the government has been mounting, prompting several marches against Luanda, seen as failing on promises to end corruption and revive the economy.

Police are notoriously violent in the southwest African country — the legacy of a 1975-2002 civil war and almost four decades of repressed dissent under dos Santos.

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#Newsworthy

Intercountry flights ‘take off’ in Angola again.

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The Runways are Ready
Ready for takeoff, commercial flights in Angola which resumed this week following their suspension in early March at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic — with only domestic flights available for booking as of now.

The first highly anticipated roundtrip flight between Luanda and Cabinda on Monday was surrounded by confusion at the airport with more passengers as there were seats.

Nevertheless, domestic flights will continue with a round trip to Soyo, in Zaire province on Wednesday and a two-way connection between the capital city and Huambo on Thursday.

International flights are scheduled to operate next Monday.

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National Progress
This marks a huge step towards economic recovery that also coincides with a rise in the country’s coronavirus testing capacity as for the first time more than 1,800 tests were carried out in a single day — as reported by officials on Tuesday.

Tests that resulted in the confirmation of 51 new infections which sees the national caseload at nearly 3,500 with 136 deaths since the start of the global coronavirus health crisis.

A situation to which the newly opened Walter Strangway hospital unveiled this week by President João Lourenço, in Cuito, the capital of the province of Bié, will now be able to provide assistance.

Along with several other medical specialities available at this new hospital in the centre of Angola — such as dialysis procedures undergone by the first patients on Monday.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Angola to increase tests for taxi drivers.

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Angola is perhaps one of countries best coping with coronavirus pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Of recent, authorities organised a ceremony to sign an online contract with the Chinese company, BGI Group of Shenzhen organised last Thursday a to reinforce the detection capacity of COVID-19 in the country.

It is believed taxi drivers are most exposed to virus.

Five laboratories will be built with a daily capacity of 6,000 tests.

A state of emergency imposed by the government in early July to curb the spread of Covid-19 was later replaced by a state of calamity.


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#Newsworthy…