Deeply concerned about imprisonment of homosexuals

Foreign Minister Børge Brende is deeply concerned about the arrests of homosexuals in Nigeria and the new law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan that prohibits same-sex marriage and imposes heavy penalties for such marriages, for homosexuality, and for supporting homosexuals.

 

This law will further exacerbate the situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Nigeria and their families and friends. Implementing the law will worsen the human rights situation in Nigeria in the areas of sexual minorities’ rights, privacy rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and more.

“States are obliged to protect all their citizens from violence, discrimination and harassment. We are deeply concerned about the reported arrests, harassment and mistreatment of homosexuals, and the criminalisation of organisations working for sexual minorities’ rights. In our view, this new law is in violation of Nigeria’s international commitments,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The new law is also a dramatic setback for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Increased homophobia and discrimination will make life more difficult for many people, including married women whose husbands have sex with men. Thus the new law will not only affect sexual minorities. In 2011 all member states of the UN – including Nigeria – committed themselves to the UN political declaration on HIV and AIDS. By so doing they have undertaken to provide legal protection against discrimination for vulnerable groups.

The new law has sparked strong protests in the international community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU, the UK, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and others have strongly condemned the new law in Nigeria.

 

 

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