Ten senators of the United States (US) are seeking sanctions against Nigeria, over what they described as “a growing trend of laws and proposed legislation targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Africa.”
In a letter to President Barack Obama, published by The Cable, the senators were seeking a review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allowed for duty-free treatment of certain imports from Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries since 2000.
“We, therefore, ask that your administration review Nigeria and Uganda’s eligibility for AGOA’s trade preference and, if it is determined that those countries are not ‘making continual progress’ in meeting the statute’s requirements, that you take steps to revoke AGOA eligibility to Nigeria and Uganda, in accordance with 19 USC 2466a(a)(3),” the senators stated.
The senators believed that the enacted Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act by Nigeria in January and the enforcement of these laws would be a human rights abuse, in violation of the standards set forth in the AGOA.
“These laws, combined with the growing public vitriol by government officials and the media, threaten to usher in an era of widespread oppression of the LGBT community in many African countries.
“We believe that the discriminatory anti-LGBT laws in those countries represent a clear violation of human rights and hope that the interagency process charged with AGOA’s annual review will make this recommendation. We further ask that you not restore eligibility until these beneficiary countries have taken steps to eliminate harsh penalties for LGBT persons,” the senators said.
The senators, according to the letter published in The Cable, are Christopher S. Murphy, Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, Edward Markey, Sherrod Brown and Mark E. Udall.
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