- January 23, 2014
Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
Today Academy Award-winner Goldie Hawn, who has spent decades supporting human rights for all and speaking out against human rights atrocities, met with HRC President Chad Griffin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the recently enacted law subjecting LGBT Nigerians to imprisonment for up to 14 years. Hawn is in Davos meeting with global leaders to discuss her program MindUP and the Hawn Foundation, whose mission is greater wellbeing for children and adults. Her message in Davos is “we need to put the human back in humanity.” After meeting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan last night, Hawn tweeted a photo with President Jonathan, unaware of Nigeria’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law. Hawn has since removed the photo from her Twitter account.
“The situation facing LGBT Nigerians is unconscionable and unacceptable,” said Hawn. “I stand with HRC and LGBT Nigerians because I know that we can overcome human rights abuses by speaking up and standing together.”
“Goldie Hawn is a lifelong supporter of human rights and LGBT equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Like too many people around the world, she was unaware of President Jonathan’s recent actions that further criminalize LGBT people and make it illegal for Nigerians to be a member of an LGBT rights group like HRC. We cannot embrace world leaders who harass, torture, and imprison their LGBT community. All members of the World Economic Forum, including business and governments leaders from around the globe, should let President Jonathan know that his horrific actions targeting LGBT Nigerians severely damage Nigeria's international reputation.”
Griffin is at the World Economic Forum where he spoke this morning on the moral and economic imperative of world leaders to foster LGBT-inclusive environments. As part of this trip, he called on members of the WEF to denounce Nigeria’s heinous new anti-LGBT law.
Earlier this month, President Jonathan signed profoundly anti-LGBT bill into law that criminalizes same-sex marriage, punishes homosexuality with jail terms of up to 14 years, and threatens any person who supports or is a member of an LGBT organization with 10 years’ imprisonment. In addition to dozens of arrests, local activists report that police are also tapping phones and blackmailing those suspected of being gay.
The law severely affects LGBT Nigerian’s access to healthcare in a nation where an estimated 3.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Many of those who have already been tortured and arrested were affiliated with local HIV/AIDS organizations. Additionally, this law will exacerbate the already hostile social and legal context for LGBT citizens in Nigeria by expanding the scope of criminalized activities and pairing them with harsher punishments. Same-sex sexual conduct was already illegal in Nigeria prior to the passage of this bill. In the Northern states of Nigeria, Sharia Law dictates a death sentence for those convicted of homosexuality.