Target: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Goal: Repeal Nigeria’s Anti-Homosexuality law, which infringes on the basic human rights of Nigerian citizens
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has recently approved a Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill that has wide-sweeping consequences for the LGBT community. The bill criminalizes same sex marriage, displays of affection between same sex couples, and even gay rights activism.
The new law makes entering into a same sex marriage or civil union punishable by 14 years in prison, while anyone that witnesses or plays a role in such a marriage, including religious leaders, can be sentenced to ten years. Public displays of affection between same sex couples, as well as being a “supporter or member of a gay organization,” are also punishable by ten years in prison.
The law’s vague terms criminalize many human rights and AIDS education programs in Nigeria. As the country with the third most AIDS cases worldwide, sexual education and HIV prevention programs are absolutely necessary to prevent further detriment to the Nigerian population.
The law will also add to the rampant public stigma associated with the country’s LGBT community. Same sex couples in Nigeria already suffer verbal and physical abuse from civilians and law officials alike, sometimes being beaten or killed.
Nigeria’s constitution guarantees citizen’s rights to freely assemble and associate, as well as equality of these rights for each citizen. The new Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill is in direct contention with this, as well as other human rights charters.
Instead of shunning the LGBT community and criminalizing alternative sexual orientations, Nigeria should move forward with education and tolerance campaigns. Demand that the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill be immediately repealed, and that the Nigerian government work to ensure equal rights for all LGBT citizens.
Dear Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan,
The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill recently received presidential approval, making it law in Nigeria. The law imposes harsh prison sentences for same sex couples that are married or party to a civil union. Rights advocates and sexual educators could also be jailed under the law, as well as any supporters of LGBT rights.
This law infringes on the civil rights to freely associate and assemble, as guaranteed by the Nigerian Charter. This law is also in direct contention with several international human rights agreements to which Nigeria is a party. I ask that the backward Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill be immediately repealed, and that the Nigerian government work to restore equal rights to same sex couples.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ricardo Stuckert via Creative Commons