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Amid arrests and trials, UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon expresses 'deep concern' over Nigeria's 'Jail all the Gays' law

Calls for review of constitutionality of law which 'may fuel prejudice and violence'
  UN Secretary Ban_Ki-Moon
Photo: World Economic Forum

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday (15 January) condemned Nigeria's new anti-gay law which have already resulted in numerous arrests and 11 allegedly gay men being put on trial in an Islamic court.

A spokesperson for Moon said the Secretary-General has 'deep concern' particularly about the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria which is 'in breach of fundamental human rights.'

'The Secretary-General fears that the law may fuel prejudice and violence, and notes with alarm reports that police in northern Nigeria have arrested individuals believed by the authorities to be homosexuals, and may even have tortured them.' reads the statement.

Ki-Moon is hoping that the constitutionality of the law can be reviewed.

'The United Nations stands ready to assist Nigeria in any way to bring about constructive dialogue and change on this matter,' reads the statement. 'The Secretary-General reiterates that everyone is entitled to enjoy the same basic rights and live a life of worth and dignity without discrimination.'

Earlier this week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the ‘Jail All The Gays’ bill into law.

The legislation bans same-sex marriage, criminalizes gay clubs and associations, and sets up prison terms of up to 14 years. Openly gay people risk being imprisoned whether or not they have sex.

Also, anybody who knows somebody who is gay will have to tell the authorities or go to jail for five years.

It was reported Wednesday that an Islamic court in Nigeria's northern state of Bauchi has put 11 Muslim men on trial. They are accused of being homosexuals in violation of their religion, a religious leader tells the BBC.

A spokesman for the government said the law was introduced as it was ‘in line with our cultural and religious beliefs as a people.’

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