US Senators seek punishment for Nigeria over anti-gay law, write Obama

Posted by Nelson Dafe | 2 August 2014 | 3,983 times

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The last has not been heard about the opposition of Western politicians to the anti-gay promulgated earlier this year by Nigeria. Recently, a group of about a dozen United States Senators wrote a letter to President Barrack Obama, urging him to take specific steps to punish Nigeria economically.

Obama is scheduled to meet with African leaders from August 4 to 6 during the first ever African Leaders Summit in Washington DC. Top on the agenda of the meeting are discussions on the economic improvements of African states.

However, ahead of the summit, 10 Democratic Party Senators have asked President Obama to hold Nigeria and Uganda (another African country that has recently passed tough laws against homosexuality) to their human rights commitments as members of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The AGOA law passed by the US Congress in 2000 gives annual membership to African countries, allowing them to make tax-free exports from Africa to the Unites States, thereby boosting their economies. Nigeria is reportedly one of the largest beneficiaries of the AGOA law which is expected to run, at least, till 2015.

The letter by the US lawmakers to Obama reads in part: “We write with deep concern over a growing trend of laws and proposed legislation targeting lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Africa. These laws combined with the growing public vitriol by government officials and the media, threaten to usher in an era of widespread oppression of the LGBT communities in many African countries. We believe the enforcement of these laws would be a human rights abuse in violation of the standard set forth in the African Growth Opportunities Act.

“The jurisprudence in the area of international human rights supports respect of sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights. We therefore ask that your administration review Nigeria and Uganda’s eligibility for AGOA’s trade preference and, if it is determined that those countries are not “making continual progress” in meeting the statue’s requirements, that you take steps to revoke AGOA’s eligibility to Nigeria and Uganda....”

Among the senators who signed the letter was Tammy Baldwin, the first ever openly lesbian US Senator in history.

•Photo shows lesbian US Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Source: News Express

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