by Rachel Ogbu
To mark International Human Rights Day, The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) has called upon civil society, the Nigerian Bar Association and all human rights organisations to add their voices and join in the celebration of human rights by refusing to pass into law a bill “that violates the very essence of human rights”.
In a statement released, TIER explained that it is deeply concerned about the anti-gay bill, which has just passed its second reading at the National House of Assembly in November 2012.
The bill by its content violates multiple human rights, including but not limited to; The right to freedom of association and assembly, the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to thought, conscience and religion and the right to equality of all people, all of which are rights that are entrenched in the 1999 Nigerian constitution.
It contradicts Nigeria’s commitment to Regional and International human instruments to which it is a signatory. These instruments include the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other instruments.
”Human Rights are human entitlements which apply to everyone. Therefore, no one should be discriminated because of their gender, sexual orientation, or disability. We all should enjoy human right but unfortunately many people don’t,” says Olumide Makanjuola, the TIERs Director of Programs.
TIER says it’s committed to celebrating human rights and is particularly commemorating the International Human Rights’ Day as a human rights organisation – a day dedicated to celebrating rights for all and for defenders around the world to end human rights violations against vulnerable members of society.