January 22, 2014
HRC Calls on World Economic Forum Members to Denounce New Anti-LGBT Nigerian Law
Nigerian President Attending WEF Meeting in Davos
DAVOS – Today Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called on members of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to denounce the new anti-LGBT law in Nigeria and the witch-hunts that have followed under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan. Griffin is at the WEF where he is speaking this week on the moral and economic imperative of world leaders to foster LGBT-inclusive environments. President Jonathan is also at the conference in Davos.
"The leaders of the world's economies know that equality is good for business, good for economic growth and good for trade," said Griffin. "When countries like Russia or Nigeria pass laws that threaten the human rights of LGBT people, world leaders must make it clear that those actions have consequences."
President Jonathan signed the profoundly anti-LGBT bill into law earlier this month. The legislation 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.
"Aside from putting the lives of his own citizens in peril, President Jonathan risks alienating himself among world leaders who believe that economic growth and human rights must go hand in hand," added Griffin.
The law severely affects LGBT Nigerians’ 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.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.