Canada Condemns Nigerian Bill Further Criminalizing Homosexuality

By Canada - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

OTTAWA, Canada, December 1, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada calls on Nigeria to immediately ensure that all its citizens enjoy equal basic rights.

“A bill passed by Nigeria's senate would, if ratified, disregard basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The Government of Nigeria must protect all Nigerians, regardless of sexual orientation.

“Through the Commonwealth and other forums, Canada will continue to make this point in the most forceful of terms.”

Nigeria already criminalizes homosexuality; this bill would make same-sex marriage punishable by a 14-year jail sentence and turn supporters or witnesses of such unions into criminals, too. Under the new law, groups that support gay rights would also be banned.

The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy. Canada has clearly spoken out against human rights violations committed against persons on the basis of their sexuality.