Post submitted by Jane WothayaThirikwa, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
In an open letter to Africa's leaders, former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, called on African leaders to embrace priorities such as the empowerment of women and gender equality, the rights and empowerment of adolescents and youth, and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people.
In reference to the development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015, Chissano underscored adherence of fundamental human rights and advancement for basic freedoms.
“We can no longer afford to discriminate against people on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, migrant status, sexual orientation and gender identity, or any other basis”, he said.
Though Mozambique’s Penal Code criminalizes “practice of unnatural vices”, the country’s Labor Law states that employment and labor laws should be in line with the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Activists in Mozambique have continually advocated for a constitutional amendment to make explicit that existing constitutional protections cover sexual orientation so as to guard against any future moves to criminalize gay and lesbian citizens.
Earlier this week, Nigeria, passed a punitive law banning same-sex relationships and LGBT rights advocacy, punishable by 10 to 14 years in prison. In Uganda, an anti-homosexuality bill that punishes "aggravated homosexuality" with life imprisonment was presented to the president for assent. Both countries already criminalize same-sex conduct in their Penal Codes.