Muslim rights group: Western countries should ‘desist from interfering’ with Nigerian anti-gay law

Joseph McCormick January 16, 2014
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A Muslim rights group in Nigeria has commended the country’s president for signing a law which further criminalises same-sex marriage, gay organisations and any display of homosexuality.

The internationally condemned law, now nicknamed the “Jail the Gays” law, was signed by President Jonathan some time earlier this month, but announcement of his approval only emerged on Monday.

The group Muslim Rights Concern, which ironically carries the slogan: “Every human has rights”, on its Facebook page, said Western countries should back off, and called the UN a “tool of powerful capitalist nations.”

Its Thursday statement said Western countries should “desist from interfering with [Nigeria’s] internal affairs.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague have all criticised President Jonathan’s decision.

The UNAIDS agency has said the law could potentially damage programs which fight against HIV and AIDS.

Under the terms of the new Nigerian law, anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union may be jailed for up to 14 years, and all such unions entered into abroad are made “void”.

It also bans people who register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies or organisations, or who publicly show that they are in a same-sex relationship will be punishable with up to ten years in prison – this includes couples holding hands.

“Only a marriage contract between a man and a woman shall be recognised as valid in Nigeria,” the law states.

More: Africa, AIDS, anti-gay law, HIV, Nigeria, UK, UN, UNAIDS, US

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