In an historic move, Mozambique has decriminalised gay and lesbian relationships, making it one of the few African nations where same-sex relations are legal.
In new legislation which came into force today (July 1), the government has repealed a colonial-era law banning "vices against nature", the Guardian
While there were no prosecutions under the clause in the south-western African state, the country's LGBT rights activists claim it is a symbolic victory - and that they will continue to campaign for equality and acceptance throughout the nation.
“We do welcome it but we don’t actually see it as something that will bring a change for how LGBT people live in Mozambique,” said Carina Capitine, spokesperson for Lambda, the country’s only gay rights organisation.
She added: “We are quite a tolerant people. The LGBT community is not targeted by violent acts as in some African countries. But we do face discrimination here, for example when parents say you cannot live here until you change.”
British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said of the news: “It’s a wonderful development amid the often regressive anti-gay measures being taken by some other African countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and the Gambia.
“The decriminalisation is the result of long patient lobbying by Mozambican LGBT activists and their African allies. This is the first step towards wider legal protection for LGBT people in Mozambique and for LGBT organisations to receive formal recognition and consultative status with government.”
Same-sex relations are illegal in 36 of Africa's 54 countries, while same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death in Sudan, Nigeria and Mauritania.
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