The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva
While justifying their rejection of Tuesday’s UN statement on violence against LGBT people on a technicality, most African states reaffirmed their virulently anti-gay position.
Only four African nations, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and South Africa signed the statement condemning “acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity” at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Nigeria’s Ositadinma Anaedu told the Council in a muddled and contradictory speech that the reluctance of African countries to join the statement is because sexual orientation and gender identity “remain undefined in the international human rights system”.
While Anaedu argued that “we do not want any discrimination against anybody under any condition whether sexual or otherwise,” he then proceeded to express a bigoted and discriminatory stance, rejecting Africa’s LGBT citizens on the basis that they are a threat to religion, family and culture:
“We have to state clearly and forcefully that this concept stands against everything we stand for in Africa. We believe in God and we believe that he ordained everything.
“It touches on our own concept of women. For us a women is the greatest resource of God’s creation and we don’t believe that any simulation of any kind, scientifically or otherwise, will bring forth anything called women, other than we know existed by God’s creation.
“Our own concept of children, that children come from the combination of the man and the wife, under the family husband and wife. It also touches on family or what we regard as family because for us family stands at the heart of everything we will do. We live for the family.
“It is also imperative to state, that this issue also touches on the issue of poverty and health that are so predominant in Africa that right now every issue, every mandate holder, every discussion reduces the problem of Africa just to sexual orientation. It is unforgiving and unfair.
“And finally, we have to state clearly, that our leaders as African heads of state and governments clearly stated that every nation has the right to protect its culture and issues of life. That is every nation, particularly the African regions, have the right of their culture and religions. And finally, no culture of that group should be imposed on the other. In effect, we do not hold for those that want sexual orientation to be a way of life in their cities and villages… What we are emphasising is that maintain your way of life while we maintain our own.”
Ironically, Anaedu then concluded by stating that “If any law criminalises sexual orientation, and otherwise, those laws should be expunged”.
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, with 12 of its states having adopted Islamic Shari’a law allowing for same-sex sexual activity to be punished by death by stoning. Homosexuality is also outlawed in 37 other African countries.