Angola has ratified the following documents:
  • African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People's Rights
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Angola:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Angola to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Angola can be viewed at http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ao00000_.html

The Constitution of Angola is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It explicitly refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, and other treaties ratified by Angola, for the interpretation of the Constitution (art. 21).

The Constitution enables countries to translate the international agreements into domestic law. It obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to a clean and healthy environment (art. 24)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 18)
Right to equality within marriage (art. 29)
Right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 23)
Right to freedom of association (art. 32)
Right to freedom of expression (art. 32)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 25)
Right to just and favorable work conditions (art. 46)
Right to liberty and security (art. 20)
Right to life (art. 20)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race (art. 18)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex (art. 18)
Right to participate in political life and to be elected (art. 28)
Right to work (art. 46)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution makes it possible for other rights provided for in international law to apply, even though they are not mentioned in the Constitution (art. 21).

Why is that important? While it does not mean that Angola is obliged by its Constitution to ensure those other rights that not listed in its Constitution, it grants advocates a powerful argument to support laws and policies that would protect those other rights, e.g. the right to paid maternity leave.

The Constitution mandates Angola to increase the quality of life of its citizens (art. 9), and to adopt measures to promote the economic and social well-being of the youth (art. 31).

It obliges Angola to respect the human person and human dignity (art. 20). It requires Angola to protect the family, including in case of extra-marital unions (art. 29), and entitles children to special protection from their family, society and the State (art. 30). It obliges Angola to promote access to education (art. 49). It requires the State to provide medical and health care to all citizens, particularly for children, and in case of maternity and disability (art. 47).

Furthermore, it requires Angola to enable citizen's active participation in the economic and political life of the country (art. 10), to support small and medium-scale economic activity (art. 11), and to create the social, cultural and political conditions enabling citizens to effectively enjoy and exercise their rights (art. 50).

Why are these provisions relevant to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS policies? All of those are crucial for vulnerable groups, such as women, adolescents, and HIV-positive persons. Indeed, inserting those obligations in the Constitution provides a high-level advocacy tool for those groups to demand increased participation in the policy process, access to education and health care, and access to financial alternatives that can lift them out of poverty and enable them to make independent reproductive health decisions. For additional research or information, please click on the link "learn about specific reproductive health and human rights topics" or contact the Human Rights Working Group.

However, the Constitution allows restrictions to rights in certain cases.

The Constitution authorizes restrictions to rights for the protection of public order or community interests, or for the protection of the rights of others (art. 52).

What do restrictions entail? By authorizing restrictions to rights, it is acknowledged that Angola may be confronted with situations such that they will necessarily entail an infringement on rights. Consequently, in such situations, Angola may take the necessary measures in order to address a public health problem without violating its own constitution.

Restrictions are authorized under international law if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the restriction is provided for and carried out in accordance with the law
  2. the restriction is in the interest of a legitimate objective of general interest (e.g., the protection of public health)
  3. the restriction is strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the objective
  4. there are no less restrictive means available to reach the same objective
  5. the restriction is not drafted or imposed arbitrarily, i.e. in an unreasonable or otherwise discriminatory manner