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Q zine 10

UPR detailed example: Nigeria

 

Rights for LGBT people:

Is there any progress from 1st Review to 2nd Review ?

Example: Nigeria

The following are direct quotations from the UPR documents on Nigeria that relate to rights for LGBT people.

For reasons of space, we have shorten texts enclosed in [brackets and italics] and put our own comments also [brackets and italics]. For you to get an easier overview, we have summed up all the texts below on an adjacent page.

 

1st Cycle of Review (2008-2009)

NGO's wrote:

 

[In all, 10 stakeholders, or NGO's, had submitted statements to the UN.]

CHRI [Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, India] highlighted the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2006, which got fast-tracked through the National Assembly in February 2007, and would be scheduled for a third reading before turning into law. According to CHRI, the Bill proposes five years imprisonment inter alia for anyone who undergoes, "performs, witnesses, aids, or abets" a same-sex marriage.

 

[LGBTnet Denmark: The "Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition)" law was passed in November 2012 and prescribes 3 years imprisonment for the married people and 5 years for a witness to the marriage. See http://www.nassnig.org/nass/legislation2.php?search=Marriage&Submit=Search ]

Official UN documents at the start of the 1st Review wrote:

 

In 2007, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders [and other Special Rapporteurs] expressed deep concern about the [law mentioned immediately above when it still was a proposal]. According to their statement, provisions of the draft Bill discriminate against a section of society, and are an absolutely unjustified intrusion of an individual's right to privacy. In addition to clear elements of discrimination and persecution on the basis of sexual orientation, the Bill contains provisions that infringe freedoms of assembly and association and imply serious consequences for the exercise of the freedom of expression and opinion.

Other countries at the start of the 1st Review asked:

 

The United Kingdom:

"Could you tell us the Nigerian Government’s position on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and what steps you might take to tackle incidences of violence against these groups and promote further inclusion?"

 

Nigerian Government itself wrote (as of January 2009):

 

II. CONSULTATIVE PROCESS

A two-day National Consultative Forum was held on 3 and 4 November 2008 in Abuja, during which stakeholders from all parts of the country participated. ... Most of the views expressed by the participants and the decisions reached at the Con­sultative Forum have been reflected in this Report.

 

C. Same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian relationship

76. Sexual minorities are not visible in Nigeria, and there is no officially registered associ­ation of gay and lesbians. No sexual minority or their representatives attended the [National Consultative] Forum. However, in spite of this the issue was brought up at the Forum, and the views of more than 90 per cent of the participants was that Gay-Lesbian relationship or same-sex marriage was not a human rights issue in Nigeria. The laws of Nigeria recognize marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. However, like every democracy, those who want a change in the existing laws have to come out and lobby for the change they desire.

UPR Working Group itself reports (October 2009):

 

Presentation by the Nigerian State

23. Regarding the Government’s position on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans­gender rights, Nigeria has no record of any group of Nigerians having come together under the umbrella of a “Lesbian, Gay and Transgender” group. Of course, as citizens, all Nigerians have their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

 

Interactive dialogue and responses by the Nigerian State

[Canada, the United Kingdom, and Finland all recommended that the Same-Gender Marriage law not be passed. Despite this, the law was, indeed, passed 2 years later.]

 

 

Conclusions and/or recommendations from UPR Working Group

 

Recommendation ... That the Nigeria’s President and National Assembly not approve the “Same Gender Marriage Bill” and eliminate all existing legislation that discriminates based on gender and sexual orientation

  

2nd Cycle of Review (2013 - 2014)

NGO's wrote:

 

[In all, 34 NGO's or groups of NGO's had submitted statements to the UN. Among these the following made a joint submission (called JS 3) on LGBT rights: International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health, Abuja, Nigeria; Women’s Health and Equal Rights, Abuja, Nigeria; Improved Youth Health Initiative, Edo States, Nigeria; and The Initiative for Equal Rights, Lagos, Nigeria.]

The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (NHRC) stated that since its Universal Period Review (Review), the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria) has acceded to and/or ratified key human rights instruments. However, most of these treaties were yet to be enacted into domestic legislation.

 

Joint Submission 3 (JS 3) stated that Nigeria should amend all laws and policies, and stop practices that discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; and that Nigeria must undertake legislative and policy measures that promote acceptance to homosexual and diverse gender identity.

 

CHRI stated that in November 2012, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a second reading of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill. If this Bill is passed it would further entrench discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation.

 

JS 3 stated that Nigeria must release all persons imprisoned or detained on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Also, Nigeria must end impunity by prosecuting those who allegedly violate the rights of LGBTI persons.

 

JS 3 called on Nigeria to raise public awareness of the diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and provide education programmes. JS 3 also called for the raising of such awareness through national debate, education and training.

 

[Human Rights Watch] stated that consensual homosexual conduct was criminalised under Nigeria’s criminal penal code, punishable by a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. The Sharia penal code which applied to Muslims in many northern states criminalized consensual homosexual conduct, punishable by caning, imprisonment or death by stoning.

  

Official UN documents at the start of the 2nd Review wrote:

 

[Example of reporting of status since 1st cycle of UPR

Groups mentioned below:

CERD: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial

Discrimination

CESCR: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

HR Committee: Human Rights Committee

CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women]

 
  
 

Freedom of religion or belief, expression, association and peaceful assembly, and right to participate in public and political life

 

In 2011, the special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, health, and human rights defenders sent a communication regarding alleged restrictions on the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly of groups defending lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. They referred to reports that, Nigeria’s Senate had passed the “Same-Gender Marriage” Bill on 29 November 2011. If adopted, the Bill could put a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions. It could be used to prevent LGBT individuals, as well as those perceived as belonging to any of these groups, and those that bring support to them, from associating or assembling freely.

 

In his observations, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly recommended that Nigeria revise the “Same-Gender Marriage” Bill to ensure it complied with international human rights law.

 

In 2013, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders stressed that the new law would have profoundly negative consequences for the work of human rights defenders working on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the ones engaged in the promotion and protection of the right to health.

  

Nigerian Government itself wrote (as of July 2013):

 

Recommendations made in the first cycle of the review

 

Recommendation 12 (Legalization of same-sex marriage)

 

Nigeria does not accept this recommendation because same-sex marriage is against its national values. Recent polling data suggests that 92% of Nigerians support the Anti Same-Sex Marriage Bill passed by the Senate.

 

The Marriage Act defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Christianity and Islam, which are the major religions in Nigeria, also recognize marriage as relationship between a man and woman. Same-sex marriage is not in the culture of Nigerians.

 

Sexual and gender minorities are not visible in Nigeria and there is no officially registered association of gays and lesbians. In writing this report, a consultation and validation process was held with various stakeholders where the issue of same-sex marriage was brought up, and the general view of the participants was that same-sex marriage was not a human rights issue in Nigeria.

  

Other countries at the start of the 2nd Review asked:

 

The Netherlands

  How does the government of Nigeria ensure full respect to non-discrimination on all grounds, including on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, and ensure the freedom of assembly, association of all Nigerians?
 

Spain

 

Spain respects Nigeria´s decision not to accept marriages or ¨de-facto¨ unions between persons of the same sex. Nevertheless, we would like to express our concerns regarding legislation banning same-sex marriages and punishing cases of homosexuality between married Muslim men by stoning. Is Nigeria envisaging any legislative reform to abolish this type of death penalty?

  

UPR Working Group itself reports:

 

As of January 2014, this report was not yet made public. The consultation with the Nigerian Government was completed in November 2013.

       

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