Anti-Gay Law: UN Envoy Warns FG Over Threat To Minority Rights Defenders


BEVERLY HILLS, February 10, (THEWILL) - As controversy continues to trail the anti-gay law recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Mrs Reine Alapini-Gansou, has voiced out her concern on  the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Expressing  deep concern  about the consequences the law on those she described as sexual minorities who according to her  are already vulnerable as a result of social prejudice, the Special Rapporteur said   in a statement issued in Banjul, Gambia, that some provisions of the Act, especially  Sections 4(1) and 5(2) which prohibit and provide for penalties against defenders of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, clearly  undermine the work of human rights defenders and are against any public debate on this crucial issue.

The Special Rapporteur also expressed worry  over the increase, following the enactment of the law, in  cases of physical violence, aggression, arbitrary detention and harassment carried out against human rights defenders dealing with sexual minority rights issues.

While condemning the reactions  which she said are a violation of the right to life, physical integrity, and freedom of expression and assembly of human rights defenders,she  reminded the Federal Government of its international obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

She therefore called  on the Federal Government to ensure that human rights defenders are able to conduct their activities in an enabling environment that is free of stigma and reprisals.

She also urged the political authorities  to continue their efforts towards ensuring the physical integrity and safety of human rights defenders in Nigeria.