The Act bans marriages or civil unions between persons of the same sex within Nigeria and void any such marriages and civil unions entered legally in other countries. The law goes further to criminalise the registration of ‘gay clubs, societies and organisations, their subsistence, possessions and meetings’ and bans the ‘public show of same sex amorous relationship either directly or indirectly’. The law provides a sentence of 10 years imprisonment to any person or group of persons that ‘witness, abets and aids the solemnisation of a same sex union or supports the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, processions or meetings’.
The Communities Delegation urges the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to consider the implications of this law on the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens who will become targets of abuse, violence and other human rights violations of the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally and is the recipient of over US$1.5 billion from the Global Fund, with 17 active grants in place, and 8 of the grants on HIV/AIDS. The Communities Delegation is extremely concerned of the consequences this act will have in preventing access to essential HIV services for communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), and undermine Nigeria’s efforts in the Comprehensive Response Plan for HIV/AIDS to address the high burden of HIV among key populations, impeding efforts and reversing the gains and progress made so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
The Communities Delegation is committed to ensure that all programmes funded by the Global Fund operate in, and contribute to environments that respect and value human rights to ensure that Global Fund investments are finance programmes that provide rights based access to prevention, treatment, care and support.
The Communities Delegation calls on the Global Fund to urgently identify mechanisms of direct support for the LGBT community in Nigeria, and to actively and closely monitor all Global Fund grants in Nigeria for human right violations and to take immediate action where such violations are clear.
We also urge and call on all partners including UNAIDS and bilateral programmes to directly advocate with the Nigerian government on this issue to honour its domestic and international obligations and commitments to respect, protect and ensure the fulfilment of rights of all people within its territory, and to protect minority groups from violence and discrimination by taking proactive steps to put in place measures that prevent the violation of their rights.
The role of the Communities living with HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and affected by malaria Delegation (Communities Delegation)is to advocate, influence and shape the decisions on the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tb and Malaria (Global Fund). This is so that communities living with HIV, TB and malaria can gain equitable access to quality services and support needed to prevent, treat and/or live with these infections within a conducive environment that respects human rights. www.
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