EU reacts to Nigeria’s ban on same sex marriage

The EU says the anti-gay law is an abuse of human rights.

The European Union High Commission on Wednesday condemned the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as a contradiction to the fundamental rights of individuals.

The law has drawn criticisms from abroad but has been widely accepted by Nigerians.

In a statement, the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, said she is concerned that some provisions of the Act seem to be in contradiction to all known fundamental human rights.

“I am therefore particularly concerned that some provisions of the Act appear to be in contradiction with those fundamental rights, which are themselves guaranteed by Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, and to be inconsistent with the legal obligations enshrined in a number of international agreements to which Nigeria is a party,” Ms. Ashton said.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday signed the law prohibiting gay relationships and same-sex marriages.

With the bill signed into law, anyone tried for getting involved in gay relationship, same-sex marriage or civil union faces up to 14 years in jail.

The law also criminalises meeting of homosexuals, operation of gay clubs, societies or organizations. Public show of same-sex intimate affection is also outlawed. Offenders may be jailed for up to 10 years.

Reacting to this, Ms. Ashton stated that the EU is opposed to the discrimination of any human on grounds of sexuality and is also firmly committed to the fundamental human rights and rule of law in respects to these rights which includes “freedom of association, conscience and speech and the equality of persons.”

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