News (World)

UN human rights official: Nigeria’s anti-gay law may harm public health

ABUJA, Nigeria — The U.N. human rights chief says Nigeria’s new anti-gay law may have “negative consequences” for public health.

APSouth African Navanethem 'Navi' Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
APNavi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Navi Pillay says the law could hinder government, civil and religious groups from delivering HIV education and preventative care and deter gay and transgender people from seeking services.

She told Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke at a meeting Thursday that the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act violates fundamental human rights and the Nigerian constitution.

Adoke said the laws “do not criminalize individual sexual orientation.” He indicated there would be no consideration for Pillay’s call for a moratorium on prosecutions.

The minister said a poll showed 92 percent of Nigerians support the law. It further criminalizes homosexuality as well as people working in HIV-AIDS programs for gays, who have a much higher infection rate.

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