Nigerian Police Arrest Dozens of LGBT Citizens Following Passage of Anti-Gay Law
Washington, D.C. – Following today’s news reports of the arrest of at least 38 gay men in Nigeria after the passage of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord issued the following statement:
“We are alarmed and outraged to hear of the immediate arrests and torture of gay Nigerians following yesterday’s passage of the new anti-gay legislation, which goes beyond same-sex marriage to infringe on very basic rights of expression and association. This is truly the worst case scenario. When discriminatory bills like this are passed, we are always concerned that they set the stage for violence and ill-treatment in society even when they are not enforced. But the fact that this law is being enforced so quickly and forcefully demonstrates the full extent of Nigeria’s human rights crisis.
“It is imperative that the United States, and like-minded governments around the world, take every step possible to stem the tide of this tragedy and to prevent similar laws from being passed in other countries, including the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently under consideration and the Russian Family Code Amendment. It is equally imperative that the international community supports the efforts of the Nigerian LGBT community who will both bear the brunt of this law and be best positioned to lead the efforts to make Nigeria safer for all of its citizens. ”
Human Rights First remains categorically opposed to this legislation and continues to call on the United States to urge President Jonathan to repeal this law, decriminalize homosexuality, monitor patterns of hate crime against LGBT people, and address impunity for violent acts.