The UN human rights chief has warned Nigeria that the country’s new anti-gay law is in violation of international law.

In a speech in Nigerian capital Abuja, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that LGBT people are ‘living in fear’ in the country.

The law, signed in January by President Goodluck Jonathan, further criminalises homosexuality in the country, where gay communities have been increasingly persecuted.

Pillay, a former top South African judge, said: “The law violates international law in that it is discriminatory and seriously impinges on the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.”

She also said that it could “lead to human rights defenders advocating for the rights of LGBT people receiving draconian prison sentences”, and warned the law had lead to a boom of mobs attacking gay people, as well as arrests, blackmail, and extortion.

It is the strongest condemnation of the law yet from the UN. In January, Ban Ki-Moon expressed “deep concern” at the law.

Yesterday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for sanctions against Nigeria for adopting the law.

Countries including the United States, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have already cut aid to Uganda, which adopted a similar law.