Posts Tagged 'Nigeria'

LGBT Human Rights and Foreign Policy

The Council for Global Equality posted a series of four blog posts on LGBT human rights issues and foreign policy over the past week. The posts touch on public diplomacy, national values, the current Administration’s actions and the lack of discussion of human rights during this presidential election cycle. Below is roll up of all four posts with links to the full postings.

The Place of Human Rights The Place of Human Rights

Another new year. Another chance to put things right. For the Council for Global Equality, that means elevating the place of human rights – including those of LGBT, intersex and other vulnerable minorities – in America’s foreign policy. Continue Reading 


LGBT Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

LGBT Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

A December 20 New York Times story alleged that U.S. attention to discrimination and hate crimes against LGBT people in Nigeria had worsened, in fact, their plight. Others – including the State Department, Ugandan LGBT rights defenders Frank Mugisha and Adrian Jjuko, and Nigeria’s LGBT rights community – already have pointed out the flaws in that article. Continue Reading.


Governments and Human Rights Governments and Human Rights

The Council pays particular attention to the role that foreign governments play, or fail to play, in preserving and advancing the rights of their LGBT citizens. In our own country, we’ve seen how policies pursued by this President have helped empower greater respect and protections for LGBT persons. The same could happen in many countries abroad. Continue Reading.


Matters of the Heart Matters of the Heart

Our country increasingly has come to terms with the need for fairness toward LGBT Americans – and few have questioned the premise that LGBT human rights abuse, like all human rights abuse, must be challenged. Continue Reading.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Tom Malinowski and Ugandan Activist Frank Mugisha Respond to New York Times article “U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good”

To the Editor:

American Support for Gay Rights May Leave Africans Vulnerable” (front page, Dec. 21) does a disservice to Africans and others around the world defending human rights, including those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.

Violence and legislation targeting L.G.B.T.I. persons long predates American engagement on this issue, and the article offers no real evidence that discriminatory laws adopted in recent years are a reaction to American government pressure.

It cites that we have spent more than $700 million to support “gay rights groups and causes” globally when that figure mostly encompasses public health programs that aid a broad range of individuals, including but not limited to L.G.B.T.I. persons.

American policy, which is supported by many countries, is simply to assert that people should not be subject to violence or discrimination simply because of who they are. “Do no harm” is the most important principle guiding our efforts, which are shaped in consultation with local communities.

And these local efforts have often been successful — including a campaign by Ugandans that culminated in the striking down of a repressive anti-L.G.B.T.I. law by their country’s Constitutional Court in 2014. We will continue to stand by those whose only crime is to demand the same human rights as everyone else.

TOM MALINOWSKI
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

_______________________________________________

To the Editor:

The underlying narrative of this article about anti-gay sentiment in Nigeria is that L.G.B.T.I. Africans are pawns of Western interests.

While Uganda is not Nigeria, I have found quite the opposite to be true in my country. The United States government by and large follows our lead before taking action on our behalf. And when security interests are on the line, it often takes significant pressure to get foreign governments to act on any human rights issue.

Here in Uganda, American donors paid attention only when American evangelicals like Scott Lively, Rick Warren and Lou Engle preached vitriol against gays, which prompted Ugandan legislators to propose the death penalty for gays in 2009.

In Uganda, as L.G.B.T.I. people, we sounded the global alarm because lives were at risk with such proposed legislation, and funders waited for instructions from us. We advised the American government on how to minimize harm, and it listened.

There will always be backlash to activism. That is not news.

Instead of elevating the significance of American influence, it would have been better if the article had focused on African politicians who employ any narrative at their disposal — including “neocolonial” ones — to maintain their power at the expense of scapegoated minorities like L.G.B.T.I. people, regardless of what the United States may, or may not, do.

Is there more violence now that L.G.B.T.I. people are more visible in Nigeria and elsewhere? Maybe, but it is homophobia, not funding, that is at fault.

FRANK MUGISHA
Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda
Kampala, Uganda

Nigerian Human Rights Defenders, Groups, Individuals, and CSO’s Condemn the Passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill

Nigeria House of Representatives

Nigerian human rights defenders, individuals, and Civil society organizations have condemned the passage of the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill” passed in the Nigerian House of Representatives on May 30, 2013. The bill, if approved, proposes a 14 year jail sentence for people who enter into a same-sex “marriage” or “civil union”. This bill also punishes any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations, or directly or indirectly makes a public show of same sex amorous relationship with a term of 10 years imprisonment. The bill also seeks to punish any person or group of persons that witness, screens, shields, aids and abets the solemnization of same sex marriage contract or civil union or supports the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria with 10 years in prison. Watch a video on the passage of the bill.

In opposition to the bill, Nigerian civil society has issued a letter condemning the bill. Continue reading ‘Nigerian Human Rights Defenders, Groups, Individuals, and CSO’s Condemn the Passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill’

Berman Condemns Nigerian Assault On LGBT Rights

Howard BermanPress Statement from Congressman Howard L. Berman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CONTACT: Gabby Adler
Gabby.Adler@mail.house.gov
202.225.8110, office
202.215.4509, cell

Berman Condemns Nigerian Assault On LGBT Rights

Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the Nigerian Senate passing a bill criminalizing same-sex marriages.

“The Nigerian Senate was wrong to pass legislation that not only imposes criminal penalties against consenting adults in same-sex relationships, but also criminalizes any group or organization that publicly supports or advocates for LGBT rights.  Such legislation would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression in Nigeria and have grave implications for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts.   I urge the Nigerian House of Representatives to reject this reprehensible legislation, and should this bill be presented to President Jonathan for his signature, I would hope that he would veto it.  The Nigerian government has an obligation under international law to guarantee the safety and protection of all human rights defenders regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

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Related Article: Nigerian Senate Approves Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

The Global Gay Rights Battlefields

In an article by Max Strasser in the December 20, 2010 issue of Foreign Policy Magazine the author highlights the LGBT rights battles taking shape in countries has diverse as Nigeria, Malaysia and Lithuania.

Read the full article here.


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