LGBT Rights are Human Rights

Published: November 30, 2011

The Initiative for Equal Rights is deeply saddened by the vote of the Nigeria Senate against same sex relationships in Nigeria.
The bill received its third reading yesterday at the Nigeria Senate, members of the upper legislative house unanimously voted in favor of passing the bill into law. Following the constitutional law making process, the bill will move to the House of Representatives, where it will undergo several readings on the floor of the lower house.  For the bill to become law, votes of a two-thirds majority of members of the lower house must be counted in favor of passing the bill into law, after which it will be sent to the President for his signature, which if appended to the said bill will then effectively become law.
Contrary to what was read at the public hearing, the Senate had increased the criminal liability of an offender up to 14 years imprisonment including same liability for public displays of affection between same sex persons and a penalty of 10years for persons considered to be aiding and abetting the commission of a gay marriage. In addition and also newly introduced the revised bill prohibits the registration of gay clubs or associations.
These additions in content by the senate have fundamentally changed the target, thrust and implication of the bill, and have thus rendered the constitutional provision for public hearings of bills in this instance as not having fulfilled its objective.
TIERs Executive Director- Joseph Sewedo Akoro said, “The implication of this bill is enormous and threatens TIER legal position to operate as a human rights organization in Nigeria.”
“We are greatly concerned by this development and hope that the House of Representatives will be careful in dealing with the bill: recognizing the provisions of the constitution towards human rights promotion and international human rights obligations.”
TIER seeks:
–                 To remind members of the National assembly- Senate and House of Representatives that human rights are indivisible, inalienable and inter-related. Thus the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Nigerians are human rights;
–                 To call on other members of the Nigeria Human Rights Community to raise their voice in disapproval of the bill;
–                 To call on the Nigeria Human Rights Commission to engage in a dialogue with the legislators: expressing the adverse implication of the bill to the protection of human rights of all Nigerians.
–                 To call on the National Agency on the Control of AIDS to engage in a dialogue with the legislators: expressing the potential effect on millennium development goal of mitigating the impact of AIDS in Nigeria.

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