The European Parliament has voted in support of sanctions against Nigeria and Uganda over the passage of draconian new anti-gay laws.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law in January which makes being anyway involved in a same-sex marriage an actual crime punishable by serious jail time and also bans any advocacy in support of LGBTI rights or support for gay people.
Prior to passing the bill Nigeria already punished same-sex intercourse with 14 years in jail and some states in the Muslim north of the country punish it with the death penalty under Islamic sharia law.
Ugandan Prime Minister Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law last month which further criminalizes gay sex so that repeat offenders and people with HIV who are convicted are imprisoned for life.
MEPs say that the laws violate the Cotonou Agreement on human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law and they called on the European Commission to launch ‘urgent political dialogue’ no later than at the European Union-Africa Summit taking place early next month.
The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty around poverty eradication and justice between the European Union and the African, Caribbean (minus Cuba) and Pacific Group of States that was signed in Benin in 2000.
MEPs say they want targeted sanctions against Nigeria and Uganda to include travel and visa bans for ‘key individuals responsible for drafting and adopting these two laws’ and a review of the European Union development aid strategies for Uganda and Nigeria with a view to redirecting aid to civil society and other organizations and away from those governments.
This is the strongest statement to date from the European Union that it intends to get tough on Uganda and Nigeria over their persecution of LGBTI people.