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New Niger regime worries about citizens visiting Europe, learning about LGBT rights

Scene from PSI Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo courtesy of PSI)

Niger regime leaders worried about what Niger youths would learn at the PSI Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo courtesy of PSI)

Officials in the West African nation of Niger are stirring up worries about citizens of Niger visiting Europe and learning about LGBT rights there.  As leaders of the new Niger regime, they’re also fretting about local LGBT people, who they claim are behaving in ways “contrary to the laws and morals of Niger”.

Niger does not have a law against homosexual activity, although the former president, Mohamed Bazoum, called for a draconian law outlawing same-sex marriage. Violators would be executed, he said.

Bazoom’s regime drafted a new penal code with “an entire section … devoted to criminalizing homosexuality.” That proposal was mentioned on July 12 in an announcement from Bazoom’s communication department, which stated that the proposal called for “severe penalties for anyone who commits indecent acts on a person of the same sex or has sexual relations with a person of the same sex.” The proposal also would have criminalized same-sex marriages and “organizations for homosexuals”.

The Bazoom regime was overthrown by a military coup on July 26.

Since then, the new regime has made clear it’s no friend to the LGBT community.

Niger is a landlocked West African country in the Sahel (Source: Libération newspaper)

Niger is a landlocked West African country.(Map courtesy of the Libération newspaper)

On Oct. 14, the military transitional government announced unspecified “firm measures to counter attempts to promote LGBT rights” in Niger. The new Niger regime threatened “severe sanctions” against promoters of LGBT rights.

In addition, the Ministry of Education denounced citizens of Niger , including students, who attended an Oct. 12-14 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, of Public Services International  (PSI) a global trade union federation that supports the human rights of teachers and other public service workers, including its LGBT members. The PSI gathering included an LGBT+ Forum presented in cooperation with Education International, which represents teachers and other education workers in 178 countries and territories.

Niger’s Education Minister claimed that he was aware of attempts to introduce “LGBT practices and debate into Nigerian society, particularly within the educational environment”.

He was joined by Niger’s Association of Parents and Students (APEE Niger), which warned participants at ongoing Geneva meetings “to be careful. They do not have our support, and we will fight them. We are not going to condone, and we are calling the attention of the parents of the children to mobilize and prevent their children from making the trip if there is a possibility because whatever will happen to their children, they are responsible.”

“As a national association of parents of pupils and students, we are against homosexuality, we are against these practices, and anyone who stands against the will of the people, against the will of Islamic perception, of the Islamic concept, of the religious concept. … We are going to fight it.”

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.