Advocacy statements

UPR Statement on Nigeria (2019)

  • Date / 2019
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 6: Universal Periodic Review


International Humanist and Ethical Union

40th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (25th February – 22nd March 2019)

UPR: Nigeria

Human rights are essential for all, but for minorities who sometimes feel different from the majority, they can feel particularly precious as well as precarious.

That is why we were saddened by the state delegation’s comments on same-sex relationships during its review, i.e. that “the majority of Nigerians objected to same-sex relationships because of their deep religious, cultural and moral orientation.” This echoes – though in less strong terms – what was said a few years ago by the previous Nigerian Ambassador to the UN, Peters Emuze, in this very room when he said Nigeria “rejects unreservedly” lesbian and gay attitudes amongst its citizens and talked of an “abhorrence of LGBT rights.”[1]

Let us be clear: The views that the majority of citizens happen to hold, whether because of culture, religion or anything else, do not have any bearing on the validity of the universally held human right to equal treatment and non-discrimination.

This right has been trampled upon by the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, which has served to codify homophobia, create criminal offences targeting persons based on their sexual orientation, and effectively legalize discrimination. [Since its enactment there has been an increase in crimes and human rights violations against LGBTI persons and their defenders.] We regret nothing to change this law has come out of this UPR.

We take this opportunity to strongly urge Nigeria to reconsider its rejection of the recommendation by Australia to Protect the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly for all Nigerians, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.


[1] http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/regular-sessions/29th-session/watch/hcsg-thematic-reports-and-item3-general-debate-contd-20th-meeting-29th-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4315034231001

Suggested academic reference

'UPR Statement on Nigeria (2019)', Humanists International

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