Friday, March 24, 2006

Reaction to Human Rights Watch letter

Here's a round up of the news in reaction to the letter from Human Rights Watch (HRW), and 15 other human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, to President Olusegun Obasanjo, asking him to withdraw the anti-gay marriage legislation currently before the Nigerian Federal Assembly. Given the broad public support in Nigeria, the bill will likely pass. Obasanjo plans a visit to the US shorty, where he plans to meet with President Bush.

Archbishop Peter Akinola, head of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, has endorsed the law.

So far, complete silence from conservative Anglicans. (March 23) posts HRW's letter. (March 23) reports on HRW's press release.

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington's blog (March 23) has commentary. Quote:
So to restate a recurring theme: It is okay for the Anglican Church of Nigeria, led by Archbishop Peter Akinola, to support what a bevy of human rights organizations call a "draconian measure" that "will only intensify prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation." As long as they don’t consecrate any gay bishops, their membership in the Anglican Communion is apparently safe. Because, you see, there is "consensus" within the Communion that gay bishops are a dodgy initiative that must be resisted until an overwhelming majority of the Communion is on board. Whereas advocating the imprisonment of gay people who kiss in public is not sufficient cause for reexamining the nature of that consensus.
South Africa's Independent Online (March 24) draws attention to the bill in a short piece, emphasizing HRW's claim that the legislation could impede efforts to treat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. They don't get it quite right when they say that the legislation (pdf) bans homosexual sex. That act is already banned in the Nigerian Penal Code, as indicated in HRW's letter, and is punishible by 14 years' imprisonment.

The Times of India (March 24) writes a nearly verbatim article to that in the Independent Online.

PinkNews (March 24) covers the basics. But then they publish another article that gets some facts wrong (though I have to credit them for the picture of Bush and Obasanjo above). The Nigerian legislation will not ban homosexual acts (that's already illegal and punishible by 14 years' imprisonment), but gay marriage and advocacy on behalf of homosexuality and homosexuals.

ThinkingAnglicans (March 24) posts their own roundup on the basics. (March 24) posts HRW's press release.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I have pinched this one also ;=)

Matt said...

no problem