Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/4/37/Add.1, 27 March 2007: Nigeria
511. On 10 April 2006, the Special Representative sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning a “Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Prohibition of Relationship Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith”. According to the information received, on 19 January 2006, the Minister of Justice presented a “Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Prohibition of Relationship Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith” to the Federal Executive Council which was reportedly approved but not yet submitted to the National Assembly. According to the information received, this bill introduces criminal penalties for public advocacy or associations supporting the rights of lesbian and gay people, as well as for relationships and marriage ceremonies between persons of the same sex. In particular, article 7 (1) of the Bill prohibits the “registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations by whatever name they are called […] by government agencies”. Article 7 (3) of the Bill provides for five years imprisonment for “any person involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly in public and in private”. It also provides the same sentence to anyone who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex, and “performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage” (article 8). Serious fears have been expressed that the bill aims at criminalizing activities of human rights defenders working on the rights of gay and lesbians, as well as potentially those engaged in fighting against HIV/AIDS through prevention programs. In particular, serious concern is expressed in view of the restriction such law would place on freedoms of expression and association of human rights defenders and members of civil society, when advocating the rights of gays and lesbians.
Link to full text of the report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/4session/A-HRC-4-37-Add-1.pdf