Lagos - A rights group has demanded the
prohibition of specific provisions of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said these provisions criminalised
forming and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
organisations and ensure key populations of this community has access to HIV
services, care, and treatment.
“LGBT people in Nigeria are not advocating for same-sex
marriage, but they want the violence to stop and for human rights defenders and
organizations that provide services to LGBT people to be able to operate
without fear,” said Wendy Isaack, LGBT rights researcher at HRW.
Isaak said Nigeria should thus respond to the African
Commission’s recommendation to review the law, rather than remaining silent
about the human rights abuses LGBT people are facing.
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HRW’s concern is around the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition)
Act, 2013 (SSMPA), which it reported had “made a bad situation much worse” for
Nigeria’s beleaguered LGBT community.
The rights group said the law had led to an increase in
extortion and violence against LGBT people.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan passed the law, even
though same-sex activity between consenting adults was already illegal and
activists had not been advocating legalization of same-sex marriage. The law
provides for prison terms of 14 years for anyone who enters a same-sex marriage
or civil union.
- CAJ News