An open letter from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations

Dear Ambassador Ayo Olukanni,

Nigerian anti-gay legislation threatens to violate fundamental human rights and devastate the HIV response.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) is the national federation for communities affected by HIV in Australia. We work closely to support community-led responses in Asia and the Pacific to fight HIV, through prevention, testing and treatment.

On March 7, gay, lesbian and transgender activists from Nigeria have called for global support against the laws the criminalise individual gay, lesbian and transgender Nigerians and the support organisations that provide support to them. We and many Australians are deeply alarmed at the passing of this legislation. Gay, lesbian transgender Nigerians and organisations that support them need compassion and support from their government, not hatred and violence, which is being fuelled by the law and media-reporting.

The fight against HIV is critical for men who have sex with men, and it will not succeed for these men in Nigeria without laws that enable them to come forward, work together for support, and access health services that meet their needs.

AFAO believes the Nigerian government must repeal these laws, and support the rights of all its citizens, and the civil society that supports them. I ask you to pass our views to the Nigerian government on our behalf.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Lake
Executive Director

Related: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks about the Ugandan and Nigerian anti-homosexual laws.

(image source: jaguda.com)

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