According to communications from official sources in that country, the text of the new law establishes that “any person who directs or participates in a gay club, society or organization for homosexuals or who exhibits an amorous homosexual relationship, commits a crime that will carry a penalty of ten years in jail.” Further, “marriage or civil union between persons of the same sex cannot be formalized in any place of religion, whether it be a church, mosque or any other site in Nigeria.” As a consequence, the new law establishes prison sentences for homosexual couples that marry, those that publicly display their relationship and all those who promote or defend the rights of homosexuals. (For more information … click here.)
ILGALAC is saddened by this serious step backward by the Nigerian government that targets the human rights of LGBTI citizens and that adds to other equally homophobic legislation that recently has brought back this type of criminalization and promotion of hate, like in Uganda, India or Russia, to cite those cases with greatest significance.
Pedro Paradiso Sottile, Gay Regional Secretary of ILGALAC, declared that “we will continue to fight for and work together as a network against all discrimination and undermining of rights because of sexual orientation, gender identity and their expression. We call on all organizations and governmental and international bodies, as on all of society, to repudiate energetically this legislation that shames our humanity, as well as take action to put an end to the homo/lesbo/transphobia that is killing us, persecutes us or locks us out of any region of the world.”
In particular, ILGALAC subscribes to the statements made by Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights for the UN, who considers the law approved in Nigeria “draconian.” “Very few times have I seen a law that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many fundamental and universal human rights,” Pillay said. “The rights to intimacy and non-discrimination, the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the right to freedom from arrest and arbitrary detention: this law undermines all of them.”
Sadly, homophobia of the state is not letting up in these mentioned countries, but is extending its lethal geographic arms across the planet. As stated in the last Report on State Homophobia of ILGA, 76 member states of the United Nations still criminalize consensual sexual acts between adult persons of the same sex, as opposed to 114 who don’t.
In particular, the situation of African nations, like Nigeria, is of utmost seriousness. The Report of ILGA Africa indicates that “in 36 African countries laws exist that penalize homosexuality, in some cases with the death sentence and in many more cases with severe prison sentences. It is in large degree the continent that has the worst laws with reference to homosexuality and other sexual minorities.”
* Translated by Mike Roskey.
Contact information of ILGALAC Regional Office
Address: Córdoba Avenue, 4123 Stage 1 – (C1188AAH) City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone: +54 11 48643716
Fax: +54 11 48644153