Wednesday, December 14, 2011

European Union Commission states anti-gay bill violates human rights

The European Union Commission in Nigeria has expressed fear that passage of the same sex bill by the National Assembly would cause serious conflicts with various human rights conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory.

The Head of EU Delegation in Nigeria, Ambassador David MacRae, said at a media luncheon in Abuja yesterday, that the EU was concerned about the consequences of such a bill.

He noted that it may jeopardise some rights such as the freedom of association. “We are of the view that sexual orientation is a private matter and we respect the rights of individual persons, so it is a matter of human rights,” he said.

MacRae, however, conceded that Nigerians and people in some parts of Africa have difficulty accepting the issue of gay rights because of their cultures.

Speaking on the proposed removal of fuel subsidy by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, MacRae expressed the EU's support for the proposal.

He added that it was better for the government to seek to help the masses by providing basic services such as education, healthcare, water and infrastructure than retain the subsidy that benefits a few.

He however noted that it is necessary for the government to adequately inform the populace about the issue so that they would be in a better position to judge whether it was good for the country or not.

“In a general context, in any economy, subsidising petroleum is not something governments do to help the poor. EU countries do not subsidise fuel; rather, we impose heavy taxes," he added.

MacRae also advised that the government should work hard to improve other sectors such as agriculture so as to improve employment.

This Day

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