EU foreign policy chief: Nigeria’s anti-gay law breaks the country’s own constitution

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EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton has condemned Nigeria for banning same-sex marriages and says the law breaks “fundamental human rights” and the country’s own constitution.

Baroness Ashton is the latest prominent political figure to voice concern at Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for approving the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Yesterday, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, described the law as unprecedented for its multiple violations of basic freedoms.

According to the law, anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage, civil union or domestic partnership could face up to 14 years in prison. Additionally, same-sex marriages legally performed in other countries would be considered void by the Nigerian Government.

The law also restricts LGBT citizens from meeting in public settings.

“I am concerned about the signing into law in Nigeria of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act,” Baroness Ashton said in a statement: “The European Union is opposed to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It is firmly committed to fundamental human rights and the rule of law in respect of those rights, including freedom of association, conscience and speech and the equality of persons. It supports the respect of human rights in all countries of the world.

She added: “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.”

The US and UK governments have also strongly criticised Nigeria.

Meanwhile, reports out of Nigeria say dozens of gay men have recently been arrested in the country, many through police entrapment.