Human rights NGO, The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) has marked today, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), with a call to action.
In some parts of the world, this day is remembered with protests and demonstrations calling on governments to address situations of impunity, protection of sexual minority rights and human rights defenders.
TIER has urged Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take on the promotion and protection of human rights of all Nigerian citizens and speak-up against discrimination and violence suffered on the grounds of their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity.
Joseph Sewedo The Executive Director of TIER said, “It is quite depressing that secular states in this century will still base governance on religion rather than the constitution, which supersedes and emphasizes the secularity of modern state and their obligations to protect and promote human rights regardless of sex, age, creed, tribe and other status [sexual orientation and gender identity/expression] as stated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.”
He reiterated the statement of Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa earlier this year when the secretary general said, “One form of discrimination ignored or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
TIERS noted an increase in state-sponsored violation of human rights arbitrary arrest and detention of people based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity as recently reported from the Gambia. TIERs noted that there are increasing attempts to intensify criminalisation that people suffer on the grounds of their perceived or actual sexual orientation in some countries in Africa such as Uganda, Cameron and Nigeria.
Nevertheless TIERS applauded the progress made by Nigeria in regard of the independence of the NHRC and appointment of its governing council in compliance international norms.