Quick Hit: Mass arrests in Nigeria after passage of “Jail the Gays” law

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The Guardian reports that in Nigeria, where harsh new anti-gay laws are going into effect, police have begun mass arrests of gay men. The laws forbid membership in gay rights organizations and same-sex marriage. In addition to the obvious human rights concerns, those who oppose the law worry that it will endanger HIV prevention and treatment programs in Nigeria:

Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of the country’s International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said that the legislation, hailed the “Jail the Gays” law, had led to mass arrests. Police in Bauchi state, she claimed, had a list of 168 purportedly gay men, of whom 38 had been arrested.

The laws, she cautioned, will endanger medical programmes combating HIV-Aids in the gay community. Nigeria has the second-largest HIV epidemic globally with an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV.

Responding to the spread of anti-gay legislation, Kerry said: “The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria’s enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Beyond even prohibiting same-sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.

Similar legislation has been enacted in Cameroon, and of course, in Uganda, where American conservatives have been exporting their violent homophobia for some years. You can read the whole thing here.
Avatar ImageChloe Angyal came out of the womb opinionated.

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Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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