Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, A/HRC/20/27/Add.3, 19 June 2012: Nigeria
Nigeria: Alleged restrictions on the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly of groups defending lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights
228. JAL 20/12/2011. Case no. NGA 5/2011.
State Reply: None to date.
We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 and to Human Rights Council resolution 16/4, 15/21, 15/22, and 16/5.
In this connection, we would like to bring to your Excellency’s Government’s attention information we have received concerning the Same-Gender Marriage Bill that may discriminate and unduly restrict the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly of groups defending Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) rights. Similar issues have been raised in the urgent appeal addressed to your Excellency’s Government by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders on 10 April 2006.
According to the information received:
On 29 November 2011, Nigeria’s Senate passed the “Same-Gender Marriage” Bill. It is reported that the approval of the House of Representatives is pending before the President is able to sign it into law. It is alleged that if passed the “Same-Gender Marriage” Bill would have further adverse implications on LGBT people in Nigeria.
It is alleged that the Bill contains a broad definition of the term “same-sex marriage” as it includes all suspected same-sex relationships and targets not only those who are suspected of practicing same-sex relationships, but also anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations” or those who “witness, aid or abet” such relationships.
In connection to the allegations and concerns described above, we urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the right to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly is upheld. We also encourage your Excellency’s Government to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that defenders, activists and civil society organizations can carry out their human rights work in a free and safe environment.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
- Is the information alleged in the summary accurate?
- Please provide the full details of the aforementioned Bill and explain how its provisions are in accordance with Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law and standards, particularly with regard to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
- Please indicate what measures have been taken to ensure that human rights defenders, activists and civil society organizations can operate in an enabling environment and can carry out their legitimate activities without fear of harassment, stigmatization or criminalization of any kind.
- Please indicate any consultation undertaken, including with civil society on this Bill.
link to the text of the extract: Communication-SR Freedom Assembly Association-Nigeria-2012-eng
Link to full text of the report: