Nigeria: Stop the anti-same sex marriage bill, decriminalize same sex love!
The Nigerian lawmakers are attempting to pass a bill titled “An Act to Prohibit Marriage between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith” The bill aims to further criminalized same sex relationship and marriage.
Under Nigeria’s criminal code and penal code, consensual same sex conduct between adults is a criminal offense. Chapter 42, section 214 of Nigeria’s criminal code provides a sentence of fourteen years imprisonment for "carnal knowledge against the order of nature". The Sharia law, widely practiced in Northern Nigeria prescribed death penalty for homosexual conducts.
The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights international agreements that Nigeria is a signatory to. This bill could lead to political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It could also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.
The bill could further affect Nigeria Human rights records, many including the police would use it as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays. Hate crime are not uncommon in Nigeria.
Please sign the letter below to urge Nigerian lawmakers to decriminalize Same sex relationship, stop the proposed anti same sex marriage bill and uphold fundamental human rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals transsexuals in Nigeria. Thank you.
SEN. DAHIRU UMARU- HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISION, NIGERIA
- SENATE PRESIDENT
SENATOR DAVID MARK
- SPONSOR OF THE BILL
SENATOR DOMINGO OBENDE
I just signed the following petition addressed to: NIGERIA LAWMAKERS, SENATE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE MEMBERS, NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS! STOP THE ANTI SAME SEX MARRIAGE BILL, DECRIMINALIZE SAME SEX LOVE!!
It is with deep concern that I signed this petition to register my dismay at the proposed Bill titled “An Act to Prohibit Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization of Same and for Other Matters Related Therewith” sponsored by senator Domingo Obende. This bill contradicts fundamental human rights under Nigeria constitution, international and regional human rights law and standards e.g.
• Nigeria Constitution- Section 42 prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of sex or membership of a group. Also, Section 34 guarantees the right to the dignity of the human person; it states “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;”
•The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights – This regional law affirms the equality of all people. Article 2 of the law states: "Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status." Article 26 of the law prescribes that "Every individual shall have the duty to respect and consider his fellow beings without discrimination, and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safeguarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance."
•International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - Article 2 and 26 affirm the equality of all people before the law and the right to freedom from discrimination. Articles 18 and 19 protect the rights to freedom of expression and Conscience. Also Articles 21 and 22 protect Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Association.
•United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders - Article 5 of this declaration affirms that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: a) to meet or assemble peacefully; b) to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups." Article 7 also states that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance."
Sodomy law is a relic from British colonization. The British parliament and many of its former colonies e.g. Canada, Australia, South Africa and India have repealed the law. Why is Nigeria clinging and seeking to strengthen this antiquated law through the proposed Anti-same sex relationship bill?
The argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against African culture is using “culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity. LGBT rights are human rights-
• Say NO to the passage of this bill.
• Repeal Sodomy laws and other criminal provisions against consensual same-sex relationships
• Protect and uphold the human rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and human rights defenders in Nigeria.
I hope you agree with me that States should be responsible for respecting, protecting and enabling human rights and not the limitation and violation of human rights of its citizens. Thank you for listening.
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