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Same-sex ban denies Nigerian LGBT's access to health

21 October 2016, 21:15

Lagos - A rights group has demanded the prohibition of specific provisions of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria.

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.

Also read: US condemns Indonesian anti-LGBT statements

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

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