Udoka Nweke arrived in the United States in late 2016 seeking asylum, telling authorities that as an openly gay man in his homeland of Nigeria he could be punished with a long prison term or, in some parts of the country, death. Instead, Nweke found himself in the federal Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino County, his mental health deteriorating. On Friday, some 15 months into his detention, Nweke’s plight prompted advocates for LGBT people and immigrants to gather outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Santa Ana and call for his release. “All he has seen of the U.S. since his arrival… is a jail cell,” said Ola Osaze of the Transgender Law Center, based in Oakland. The LGBT Center OC, along with other groups, called attention to the case on the first day of LGBT Pride month.
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on community, place of origin, ethnic group, sex, religion, or political opinion, but the government did not enforce the law effectively. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on the circumstances of a person’s birth, but it does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based... Expand
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on community, place of origin, ethnic group, sex, religion, or political opinion, but the government did not enforce the law effectively. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on the circumstances of a person’s birth, but it does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on disability.
On January 7, President Jonathan enacted the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA), which effectively renders illegal all forms of activity supporting or promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. Under the SSMPA anyone found to have entered into a same-sex marriage or civil union may be punished by up to 14 years’ imprisonment. In addition anyone found guilty of being an individual who “aids the solemnization of a same-sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation, and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions, or meetings” or “registers, operates, or participates in gay clubs, societies, organizations, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship” commits an offense punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.
Following the passage of the SSMPA, LGBT persons reported increased harassment and threats against them based on their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. News reports and LGBT advocates reported numerous arrests, but detainees were in all cases released without formal charges after paying a bond. As of December there were no reports of the government enforcing the SSMPA.
Consensual same-sex sexual activity is also illegal under federal law and is punishable by prison sentences of up to 14 years. In the 12 northern states that adopted sharia, adults convicted of engaging in same-sex sexual activity may be subject to execution by stoning. Although no such sentences were imposed during the year, individuals convicted of same-sex activity were sentenced to lashing.
On February 12, a mob in the Gishiri community of Abuja attacked 13 gay men and drove them out of their homes with sticks and knives. The mob took four of the men to a local police station where police also beat them. The four men were released the following day. Despite requests from advocacy groups, police neither investigated the incident nor apprehended any of the attackers. The men were unable to return to their homes
Because of widespread societal taboos against same-sex activity, very few LGBT persons were open about their sexual orientation. Several NGOs provided LGBT groups with legal advice and training in advocacy, media responsibility, and HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as providing safe havens for LGBT individuals. The government and its agents did not impede the work of these groups during the year.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
Gay rights activists from Commonwealth countries are demanding that laws banning homosexuality should be overturned. Campaigner Peter Tatchell has said people face violence and imprisonment just because they are gay. The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, promised the Olympic diver Tom Daley that he would raise the issue at the Commonwealth summit. So, where is homosexuality still outlawed? There are 53 countries in the Commonwealth and most of them are former British colonies. Out of those, 37 have laws that criminalise homosexuality.
Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday urged all members of the Commonwealth of Nations that had made what she called outdated legislations against same-sex marriage to have a rethink. May said this in London while addressing leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan had in 2014 signed a bill outlawing gay relationships and same-sex marriage, putting the legislation to use months after it was passed by the National Assembly. Under the law, anyone convicted for getting involved in gay relationship or entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years in jail.
A new website launched by the Women’s Rights and Health [WHER] Initiative, a Nigerian civil society not-for-profit organization, allows people report any type of human rights violations in Nigeria. Akudo Oguaghamba, executive director of WHER, described the site in an interview with the LGBTIQ rights advocacy site NoStringNG. The new site, she said, will make it easy for anyone, regardless of who they are, to report human rights violations from any part of the country.
100,000 people have signed a petition calling on Commonwealth countries to roll back their anti-gay laws. More than one billion people live in Commonwealth countries with colonial-era gay sex laws. Many Commonwealth countries continue to enforce penal codes that were first introduced under the British Empire, and never repealed. They include 10 years imprisonment and hard labour in Jamaica, 14 years in Kenya, 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia, and 25 years in Trinidad and Tobago. Homosexuality is punishable by death in member states Brunei and the northern part of Nigeria. Edwin Sesange, who launched the petition said: “The demand for equality is no longer an issue for the minority but for the majority."
For sometime, Nigerian state ambassadors have continued to rehearse worn out narratives, baselessly arguing that the rights of LGBT persons were antithetical to religious and cultural values. At a recent meeting at the UN, it was reported that the Nigerian state representative again was vocal in his opposition to the report of the UN High Commissioner that described Nigeria’s “abhorrence of LGBT rights”. The Nigerian ambassador noted that Nigeria rejected unreservedly same-sex marriage, lesbians, and gays in its population and that Nigeria had a “duty to protect family values, religious and cultural values which are the bedrock of society”. It is important to ask: What are these family values that the Nigerian state representatives often talk about and how does upholding LGBT rights constitute an affront to these values?
Traditional rulers in the Egor local government area of Edo State have rained down curses on homosexuals and are helping police on anti-LGBTI raids. According to the Nigerian newspaper Leadership, Chief Nathaniel Enyeula said traditional chiefs are joining police raids seeking to arrest homosexuals in the area. Enyeula, who is chairman of the Egor Traditional Rulers Council, said the chiefs consulted the Priest of Owema, which is believed to be the highest deity in Egor, and offered traditional libations to counteract homosexuality.
An Arch Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican communion, Arch Bishop Ali Buba-Lamido of Wusasa Diocese, Zaria on Sunday said there is no place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the Church. Arch Bishop Buba-Lamido, in restating the stance of the Church against same-sex-marriage, made the disclosure while addressing a press conference on the sideline of a pre-Synod held in Zaria, Kaduna State. He said the Anglican dioceses would strictly adhere to the teachings of scriptures, adding that gay marriage had no place in the Holy Book of God.
At an international conference on Black portraiture, imagery and depiction in Johannesburg, South Africa last November, I gave a presentation about the state of LGBT rights across the African continent. I told participants that I’d just come from New York, where, at the UN, the African bloc had spearheaded an effort to torpedo the work of the first-ever independent expert investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They wanted to halt the work of Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, a human rights expert who had completed a tour of duty in Syria, and was appointed to the post of Special Raconteur in September. He had already begun his work, but the group objected to his mandate, which was to investigate abuses directed against LGBTI people. With so much state-sanctioned abuse on the continent this wasn’t exactly a big surprise. However, the African nation bloc said it wanted a delay because “there is no international agreement on the definition of the concept of ‘sexual orientation and gender identity.’”
Tall and model-thin, Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile turns heads. She receives constant compliments but in her native Botswana, she is also met with contempt and abuse. It's simply for being who she is: an openly transgender woman. Katlego has an ally in Adong Judith. She's a straight woman in Uganda who has made it her mission to stop the type of discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people face in African nations, where homophobia runs rampant.
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