10 US senators write Obama demanding sanctions against Nigeria over harsh gay laws

TEN US senators have written a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to impose economic sanctions against Nigeria in response to the government's hostile stance towards lesbians and gays.
On January 7 this year, President Goodluck Jonathan signed Nigeria's Draconian bill Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into law, making anyone convicted of being homosexual liable to 14 years in prison. Since the law came into effect, the police have swung into action arresting lesbians and gays across Nigeria, while homophobic vigilante groups have also stepped up attacks on suspected victims.

Coming at a time when several other African nations are also clamping down severely on homosexuals, the US senators have asked President Obama to step in and halt the witch hunt. Those who signed the letter include Christopher Murphy, Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand,  Edward Markey, Sherrod Brown and Mark Udall.

They are seeking sanctions against Nigeria, over what they described as a growing trend of laws and proposed legislation targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Africa. In their letter, the senators are seeking a review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which allows for duty-free treatment of certain imports from Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries since 2000.

In their letter, they stated: “We, therefore, ask that your administration review Nigeria and Uganda’s eligibility for Agoa’s trade preference and if it is determined that those countries are not making continual progress in meeting the statute’s requirements, that you take steps to revoke Agoa's eligibility to Nigeria and Uganda, in accordance with 19 USC 2466a(a)(3),” the senators stated.

 According to the senators, the enacted Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act by Nigeria in January and the enforcement of these laws would be a human rights abuse, in violation of the standards set forth in the Agoa. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni signed a law into effect on February 24 under which accused persons can be sent to prison for life for aggravated homosexuality.

“These laws, combined with the growing public vitriol by government officials and the media, threaten to usher in an era of widespread oppression of the LGBT community in many African countries. We believe that the discriminatory anti-LGBT laws in those countries represent a clear violation of human rights and hope that the interagency process charged with Agoa’s annual review will make this recommendation.

"We further ask that you not restore eligibility until these beneficiary countries have taken steps to eliminate harsh penalties for LGBT persons,” the senators added.

No comments:

Post a Comment