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Statement by Indian groups and individuals on Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013

Statement by Indian groups and individuals on Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act
[For full list of signatures, click here]

March 10, 2014

To:
President, Members of Parliament and the People of Nigeria

Through:
H.E. Ndubuisi Vitus Amaku
High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
EP.4 Chandragupta Marg,
Chanakyapuri New Delhi-110021
India
Tel: (+91) 24122142/143/144
Fax: (+91) 24122138

We register here our strong condemnation of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013. The act, signed by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on January 7, 2014, violates the basic human rights of same-sex desiring individuals, their families, friends, loved ones and their supporters, by impeding their right to live and love without harm to others, in enjoyment of the rights of freedom and equality guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. In the face of this severe blow to the struggle for universal human rights, we reassert our solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer people of Nigeria, and of all 36 of Africa’s 55 countries where same-sex relations are illegal.

The Act not only prohibits and criminalises the institutionalisation of same sex relationships, but also prevents the registration of organisations, clubs or societies that pertain to multiple queer genders and sexualities. Public display of amorous relations between persons of the same gender invites a jail term of up to 10 years, and anyone – irrespective of their sexuality – who witnesses and/or aids a same sex civil union, meeting, registration of organisation is also liable to be punished under this draconian law. It is clear that the law is meant to clamp down on any form of love and affection that is non-heteronormative. We are astonished by the Nigerian government’s blind and misguided belief that a law can serve as an effective deterrent to love.

We write as citizens and groups of India, also a former British colony grappling with the multiple legacies of colonialism, of which the inheritance of homophobic laws is only one. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1861, recently reinstated by the Supreme Court represents the most aggressive institutionalisation of the criminalisation of homosexuality in the Indian subcontinent. In both cases, the State has acted against its people, failing not only to recognise their fundamental human rights, including the right to dignity, equality, non-discrimination and personal liberty, but also effectively condemning millions of its citizens to compromised health. This is particularly egregious in countries like India and Nigeria with some of the world’s largest populations of persons affected by HIV/AIDS. The threat of violence, harassment, and abuse against queer persons in both countries will continue unabated, having now received a particularly insidious form of State sanction.

We believe that it is homophobia, rather than homosexuality that is a colonial legacy. Today, we are engaged, along with our counterparts in other ex-British colonies, in an on-going struggle against this legacy of colonialism, a struggle in which we have relied primarily on the activist labours of our people and on the moral and legal commitments of laws and Constitutions that we have given unto ourselves. As a postcolonial state that is proud of its hard-won independence, we understand, share and support Nigeria’s commitment to realising and maintaining democratic decision making processes, in line with your Constitution and in the exercise of your sovereignty, unimpeded by the external world.

It is important to emphasise that the Act disregards and devalues the lives of Nigeria’s own people. We urge you to listen to those brave Nigerian voices in every walk of life, who have stood up for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Nigeria without regard to considerations of tribe, region, religion, sex, nationality, disability, or sexuality.

We reach out in solidarity against attempts at imperialist control over our political, moral, ethical and cultural lives. The irony of history is that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, which is an instance of such attempts at control, is being hailed as evidence of the expression of sovereignty but is in fact criminalizing long, established and documented cultural practices of same sex desire and relationships in Nigeria. To recognise the rights of all Nigerians to lives of dignity, equality and freedom of expression and assembly, by immediately repealing the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, would be the true assertion of sovereignty.

Signed:

Aapurv, Delhi*
Abhijit Majumder, Mumbai
Abhishek Singh, DU, Delhi
Achala, Mumbai
Achintya,
Aditya Mandre, Bangalore
Ahmad Fawaz, Delhi
Akbar Chawdhary, President, JNUSU, Delhi
Akshay Khanna, Brighton, UK and Delhi, India
Alakshendra Singh Yadav, Gwalior
Ali M. Naqvi, Garden Grove,CA USA
Ali Shahid, JNU, AISA, Delhi
Amalina Dave, India
Amar, Chandigarh
Amit Turner, Mumbai
Amrita Chanda, Bangalore
Andrea D’Cruz, London, UK
Anita Dube, Delhi
Ankit Agrawal, Delhi
Ankita Gupta, Child Rights & Queer Activist, Guwahati
Ankur Mondal, Delhi
Anuja Jaiman, Hindustan Times, Delhi
Anumitra, Delhi University, Delhi
Anuradha Mukherjee, Delhi
Apratim Mukhopadhyay, Kolkata
Arjun Joshi, Delhi
Arti Agarwal, Mumbai
Ashim Nilim Akash, Guwahati
Ashish Kumar, JNU Unit, AISA, Delhi
Ashley Tellis, Delhi
Asim Ghani, Journalist & Writer, Karachi, Pakistan Aurvi Sharma,
Ayesha Kidwai, Delhi
Ayush Agarwal, Mumbai
B. Kaur,
Bhanu Pratap Pangtey, Haldwani
Bhargavi Davar, Bapu Trust, Pune,
Bijay Khapangee Thapa, Delhi
Bitopi Dutta, Guwahati
C. Moulee, Orinam, Chennai
Chayanika Shah, LABIA Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
Chetan, Mysore
Chitra Nagarajan, Bangalore
Chittajit Mitra, Allahabad
Debika Chatterjee, Mumbai
Deeptaarko Dutto, Malda
Deepthi, Chennai
Dhamini Ratnam, journalist, Mumbai
Ditipriya Ghosh, Delhi
Dr Abhi Shetty, Psychiatrist, Sheffield, UK
Dr. Biswaroop Chatterjee, Associate Professor, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun
Elakshi Kumar
Georgina Maddox, Delhi Queer Pride Committee and LABIA, Delhi
German Martinez, Mexico City, Mexico
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space, London, UK
Harish Iyer, Bombay, india
Hayley Reid, Justice for Gay Africans, London, UK
Hina Saiyada, Filmmaker and ally, Mumbai
Janet Price (Dr), DaDaFest UK, Liverpool, UK
Janine Shroff, Bombay
Jaya Sharma, Delhi
Kabi, Bombay
Kanya Dixit, Gurgaon
Katyayani Dalmia, PhD Candidate New School for Social Research
Kaushik Gupta, Advocate, Kolkata
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, Delhi
Kimberly Lacroix, Delhi
Kritika Nepal, Sikkim
Krystyna Grant, London, UK
L Ramakrishnan, Chennai
Lalit Kumar, Delhi
Lesley Esteves, Delhi
Liz Little, Compass Disability Services, Wells UK
Lola Okolosie, teacher and writer, London, UK
Manjira Das, Delhi
Mario da Penha, Rutgers University, Bombay
Mayur Suresh, London, UK
Melissa Johnson, Ocean Springs, MS, USA
Mili Dutta, Guwahati
Monica Narula, Delhi
Mukesh Bharti, BBAU, Lucknow
Namitha Barhadath, Mumbai
Namrata Adlakha, India
Nandan Singh Latwal, Earthcare Outreach Trust, Delhi
Naomi Honey, London, UK
Neelu Bhuman, Filmmaker, London, UK and Hyderabad, India
Neeraj
Neha Majumder, Kolkata
Nikhil Kulkarni, Mumbai
Niruj Mohan
Noor Enayat, Delhi
Orinam collective, www.orinam.net, Chennai
Parija Chandra
Pauline Gomes, India
Pavan Khera Pattar, London, UK
Pooja Badarinath, CREA
Prachi Arya, Delhi, India
Prakash K Ray, bargad.org, Delhi
Pramada Menon, Gurgaon
Prasad Bhide, Mumbai
Prasanna R, Orinam, Chennai
Prashant Kumar, JNU Unit, AISA, Delhi
Praveen Rajendran, Chennai
Pronoy Rai, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA
R. Padma Kanya, Delhi
R. Vaishno Bharati, Delhi
Rad Dice, Los Angeles
Rafiul Alom Rahman, DU Queer Collective, Delhi
Rahul Rao, Bangalore Rainbow Pride
Rajib Chakrabarti, Kolkata
Ranjit Monga, Delhi
Rashné Limki, University of London, London, UK
Ritesh Kumar, Ranchi
Ritu Dalmia, Delhi
Rohit K Dasgupta,
Ronnie Vakil, Mumbai
Rukmini Sen, Hillele.org, Mumbai
Rupali Samuel, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Hyderabad
Ruth Vanita, Gurgaon
S. Smruthi Narayan, LGBT Activist, Hyderabad
Sachin Jain, GayBombay.org, Mumbai
Saloni, India
Sandhya Luther, Hyderabad
Sandhya Sharma, Macnchester, UK Sandip Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sandy Gill, Black Feminists, Sanjana Aswani, India
Sanjib Chakraborty, NACO­-NERO, Guwahati
Sankari, Nirangal, Chennai
Sanoj, Bangalore
Saptarshi Mandal, Lawyer, Delhi
Sashi Azad, AISA, Delhi
Sathya murthy, Chennai, India
Saurabh Masurkar, a responsible and concerned global citizen, Mumbai
Saurabh Nair, Pune
Saurabh Shabdik, Silchar
Seema Baquer, Delhi
Seema Baquer, Women with Disabilities India Network, Delhi
Shankar , Chennai
Shankar Gupta, Evalueserve, KPO, Delhi
Shashank, Gurgaon
Shehla Rashid, AISA, Delhi
Shilpa Ahluwalia, Goa
Shilpa Phadke, India
Shohini Ghosh, Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia , Delhi
Shraddha Chickerur, Pune
Shreya, Bangalore
Shubhangi, Lawyer, Lucknow
Sonali Pattnaik, PhD scholar
Sonia Singhal, Delhi
Sreekala MG, Delhi
Srinivas M, Good AsYou , Bangalore Sudipto Pal, Bangalore
Suneeta Dhar, Delhi
Sunil Choudhary, AISA, Delhi
Sunil
Suraj Sanap, Lawyer, Mumbai
Taranga Sriraman, TISS, Mumbai
Tridip Bhuyan, Guwahati
Trini Lopez, Brisbane, Australia
Tulika Srivastava, South Asia Women’s Fund, Lucknow
Tushar M, Equal India Alliance, Delhi
Uditi Sen, Kolkata, India
Veena, Evalueserve, Gurgaon
Vibhor Juyal, Lawyer, Delhi
Vic Advani Friman, Sweden/India
Vijay Kumar, JNUSU, Convenor, School of Languages, Delhi
Vikram S, Chennai
Vinay Chandran, Executive Director, Swabhava Trust, Bangalore
Vishal Muralidharan, Chennai

*All cities in India, unless specified

[For full list of signatures, click here]

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