Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Press Statement: Queer Alliance Nigeria condemns signing of Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill (2013) by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan


15th January 2014
For Immediate Press Release

Press Statement: Queer Alliance Nigeria condemns signing of Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill (2013) by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan 

On Tuesday the 7th January 2014, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan assented to the provisions of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill 2013 imposing a fourteen year jail term for same-sex oriented people in relationships, penalize public displays of affection, and additionally, makes it a crime for people to support LGBT organizations and individuals in the country. Queer Alliance strongly condemns the signing of this bill and hereby calls upon the government to ensure that the constitutional rights of all Nigerians are protected irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity, drawing distention between same sex marriage and human rights protection.

Queer Alliance notes that existing legal principles with this new law springs conditions for amplified violence against LGBT people living in Nigeria which continues unchallenged by state agencies. Anti- human rights sentiments on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity have become part of the legislative framework in Nigeria. This is in large part due to the view that same sex orientation is a characteristic of moral decadence of the African society and perversion and breaches religious doctrine with enforcement by western nations. This is despite abundance evidence of its existence within our own society before the colonialist invaded and imposed on us laws that we still cling on even as independent nations.

As a human rights organization for LGBT people in Nigeria, we remain fervidly opposed to jurisdictive attempts with presidential endorsement to criminalize LGBT people through the charade of a law on same sex marriages where none exist. Human rights are inclusive of sexual rights and these are protected in several international human rights treaties and other consensus documents to which we as a country is signatory. We assert that the LGBT community does not claim any ‘special’ or ‘additional rights’, but observance to the same rights as those of other Nigerian citizen. We are not in for marriages, a prohibition is therefore no good to the LGBT communities, where our constitutional rights are constantly in contest with the legislation of the country.

The provisions of the bill goes against  all provisions of the  African Human Rights Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which is part of our national laws and also violates grossly, the fundamental human rights accorded to all Nigerians under Chapter IV of the I999 Constitution with exception to the clauses banning same sex marriage. This law deprive LGBT people their right to health, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, a sense of self determination, erodes our safety and security and expose to us to unnecessary violence. It is sham on our democracy as citizens of the country we are committed to making Nigeria a truly democratic society.

Queer Alliance therefore use this medium to call on individuals and institutions to join voices and action to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of the human rights of for all people in Nigeria. In particular, we challenge religious and traditional institutions to support efforts in entrenching a culture of human rights in Nigeria even when these issues conflict with their faith by

1.      Ensuring that the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians in accordance with the provision of the 1999 Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other international treaties are protected irrespective of sexual orientation and or gender identity, drawing distinction between  same sex marriage and human rights. 

2.      Safeguarding citizens’ lives and properties as this law incite violence towards people on the grounds of perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity.

3.      Calling for concerted actions towards the repeal of this law.

As an organization, Queer Alliance commits to creating a strong human rights philosophy in Nigeria and pledge to continue to support the struggles of marginalized groups in ensuring that their rights and freedoms are protected.

Queer Alliance Nigeria