20 November 2012

Nigeria and Sudan, lashes and lies

 Nigeria: jail all gays
and those who hide them

Nigeria's National Assembly has backed new anti-gay legislation.
Photo by Shiraz Chakera.
Nigeria’s lawmakers have approved plans to jail people for being gay and even imprison people who don’t report homosexuals they know about to the police.
The west African nation already makes gay sex illegal and even punishable by the death penalty in the north part of the country but the new legislation goes much further.
Under the proposed law that has passed both the Senate and, this week, the House of Representatives there would be a crackdown on LGBT people which could lead to a witch-hunt.
Openly gay people would be imprisoned whether or not they have sex and LGBT organizations would be criminalized.
Anyone who knows somebody who is gay would have to tell the authorities or they could go to jail for five years.
Gay marriage would be punished by 14 years prison for the couple and 10 for anyone else involved in the ceremony. Even wedding guests could be jailed.
And ‘any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’ would get a 10-year sentence.
The Nigerian House of Representatives approved the bill, already voted through the Senate, on a second reading this week.
Speaking about same-sex marriage during the debate, house majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said: ‘It is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported. Religion abhors it and our culture has no place for it.’
And minority leader Femi Gbajabiamila also backed the bill saying gay marriage ‘is both illegal and immoral’.
But Nigerian gay activist and Gay Star News contributor Bisi Alimi said this was really about politicians trying to gain popular support in the highly religious country.
He said: ‘Nigerian LGBT community has never asked for marriage so there is no basis to ask for an anti same-sex marriage bill. This is just a voting winning political agenda.
The bill is now being reviewed on a clause-by-clause basis. After that stage it will return for a final vote in parliament before being signed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Experts have told GSN that Jonathan is a weak president unlikely to veto the legislation. However, even if he does veto, the Senate and House of Representatives can still vote again to push the legislation through.
Despite this, the legislation may not actually be in the long-term interests of the country’s political leaders. Some have suggested the bill may be used by unscrupulous politicians to smear their opponents by accusing them of being gay, and therefore destroying their careers.
The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) in Nigeria has condemned the proposed law.
Olumide Makanjuola, director of programs, said: ‘It is unfortunate that the argument presented by the legislature is invalid, illogical and unethical in democratic politics.
‘Nigeria is secular state and still remains as such. Therefore, religion should have no stake in law making in the country. Unfortunately, this is what we get!
‘This is unfortunate modern day democracy, where equity and justice is non-negotiable. It is unacceptable for the state to interfere in privacy of lives that pose no threat to statehood.’
TIER is among those worried the bill could stop or damage the work of organizations fighting AIDS in the country.
They have called on the National Human Rights Commission to intervene by raising concerns with legislators.
Nigeria’s move comes as Uganda also presses ahead with it’s own Kill The Gay’s Bill. While the two laws do have some similarities, Nigeria’s move towards this legislation actually predates Uganda’s from 2006.
However it may be the Uganda parliament’s pledge to push their bill through as ‘a Christmas present’ for its supporters has encouraged Nigeria to think its proposals will have support on the other side of Africa.
Gay Star News

urge the Government of Canada to speak out against the 
vicious legislation being enacted in Uganda and Nigeria
Sudan: gay teen sex to blame for AIDS
Khartoum, Sudan blames gays for spreading AIDS through school teen sex
Teenagers sodomising younger boys at school is apparently the ‘reason’ for the rapid rise of HIV cases in Sudan’s youth, according to a report broadcasted by the country’s Blue Nile TV.
The report featured a medical doctor employed by Sudan ministry of health who stated that ‘sodomy has had an alarming growth in the education system’ and that senior students force younger to have sex with them in school toilets, ‘spreading the AIDS epidemic’.
Sudan is gripped in a state of moral panic created by the report, which was broadcast last week.
Opposition leaders blasted the government for creating an education system that ‘promotes’ homosexuality and AIDS.
One critic alleged that as the government recently changed primary education from six to eight grades, the increased age differences ‘encouraged older teenage homosexuals’ to take advantage of younger students. This, according to the journalist is the main reason for the infection rates.
The journalist, Mohammad Ali Taha Shaiqi of the Drafur based opposition group, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), claimed he requested the government to address and change this ‘error’ in the education system but it had been refused.
He stated that the refusal of his request ‘proves’ the government is aware and in fact ‘promoting homosexual practices’ in schools which in turns 'spreads AIDS and destruction'.
Speaking with GSN, Mohammad, chair of Rainbow Sudan, the country’s main LGBT rights group said: ’One of the real problems that causes infection with the HIV virus is the lack of sexual education in schools.
‘Ignorance, more than anything else, is responsible for viral transmission, it has nothing to do homosexuality or age differences.
‘If the government and political opposition are serious about tackling Sudan’s growing HIV infection rates, then safer sex education is the key.'
32 year-old Mohammad explains the context: ‘Two months ago police broke into a bar and arrested several people for drinking alcohol including one foreign national.
‘Then there was the attack on the weapon factory, which promoted discussion how the Islamic government is losing its control of the country.
‘The president, as a reaction, declared the application of Shari’a law in Khartoum [the country's capital], and the calls for more freedom and rights voiced in the parliament just went down the drain.
‘I guess now we are being used to kick around in an attempt to confuse and win public opinion by both sides.
‘And yet nothing will be done about HIV infection, which many examples show benefits from the lack of education, ignorance and homophobia that both the government and its critics champion.’
Sudan is one of the strictest countries in the world which criminalize homosexuality. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and, according to Article 148, capital punishment applies to a man or woman engaging in such acts.
Punishments also include lashes and imprisonment.
Even without that, being out can have serious social and economic consequences - it typically means a loss of jobs prospects, ostracisation from family and community, even murder by so called 'honour killings'.
Gay Star News
urge the Government of Canada to speak out against the 
vicious legislation being enacted in Uganda and Nigeria

related links:
 Canada-Nigeria Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  •  " ...Canada provided support to the 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections... also an ongoing project (until 2015) to support the long-term electoral cycle, which included the 2011 Presidential and Gubernatorial elections. In September 2010, Canada sponsored technical assistance to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission... "
  • " ...At roughly $2.7 billion in two-way merchandise trade for 2011, the commercial relationship with Nigeria is Canada’s largest in sub-Saharan Africa... "
 Canada-South Africa Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  • " ...Between 1984/85 and 2009/10, CIDA disbursed C$325.12 million through its various delivery channels for development activities in South Africa."
 Sudan and South Sudan (Canadian International Development Agency)
  • 2010 - 2011 'disbursments' $98.4 million
Canada - Uganda Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  • ~ approximately $350 million in assistance for humanitarian assistance, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants through the World Bank; support to Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and support to UNICEF focussing on primary education in the northern areas of the country.
Related posts on stormidae:  
Uganda and South Africa, hate revisited  
welcome to Uganda: death penalty for “serial" gays 
corrective rape: how South Arfica 'cures' lesbians 

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