Rights activists in Mozambique have marched through the capital Maputo to protest a colonial era law still included in new legislation that allows rapists to go unpunished if they marry their victims.
The “marriage effect” clause sees convicted rapists given a five-year suspended sentence if they marry their victims and stipulates that the perpetrator should stay married to the victim for at least five years.
Though it had fallen into disuse, the clause has been retained in a new legislation replacing the colonial Portuguese penal code of 1886, which is currently before parliament.
But, in a country where women make up 40 percent of parliament, activists are outraged.
International rights group Amnesty International has launched a campaign against the controversial legislation, leading similar campaigns in Algeria and Tunisia, where such laws also exist.
Attack on women
At the protest, a young woman dressed in a blood-spattered wedding gown led a group of about 300 mostly female protesters as they marched to parliament.
"It is an attack on us as women," protester Aulzira Camacho told the AFP news agency.
"Marry the rapist? No!" read a banner carried by another protester.
The new penal code was rushed through parliament in December, where it was approved in a preliminary vote. It is now under discussion by special parliamentary groups before going back to the assembly for a final vote.
The draft code also terms rape in marriage as adultery rather than an offence.
Activists in the southern African country reject the text, where 12 percent of women fall victim to sexual abuse, according to 2011 health statistics.
Keep reading via aljazeera
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic