The United Nations Postal Administration(UNPA) on the 4th of February released six new postage stamps promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The new stamps, which seeks to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community, marks the first time the United Nations has issued stamps with this theme.
The artist, Sergio Baradat who designed them, in an interview said “We live in a world where even though developed nations have embraced marriage equality and LBGT equality, we still have a far, far, far way to go, but we are making some strides,” he added “There are some countries in the world right now where not only are we not celebrated or respected, but we are beaten and killed. And I thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity using art, to use postage stamps as a vehicle – using art to change hearts and minds.” He also stressed that LGBT rights are human rights and that all individuals deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law.
The fact of referring to LGBT rights as Human Rights and also using the United Nations to push such propaganda hasn’t gone down well with many member states who feel this arbitrary act is an affront to the sovereignty of member nations who share different views.
In anticipation of the unveiling of the stamps, the Deputy Permanent Representative Of Nigeria To The United Nations Ambassador Usman Sarki relying on the charter of the UN condemned the action of UN Secretary General and the UN bureaucracy.
He told a meeting of Member States that “It is in that regard that we wish to remind the UN to limit itself strictly to activities mandated by Member States and especially to promote issues that are beneficial to mankind rather than lend itself as tool to promote aberrant behaviour under the guise of promoting human rights.” “The UN should not take unilateral decisions on such sensitive matters that offend the sensibilities of the majority of its Member States, and contradict their religious beliefs, cultures, traditions and laws. If it must act in this fashion, the UN should promote issues that enjoy consensus and, at the same time, advance the dignity of people and their genuine human rights. In the light of this concern, we call upon the UN not to proceed with this event and to put an end to all processes that are currently in place in all its agencies, funds and programs, that promote and legitimize this tendency on which there is no consensus among member states.
Since delivering his address – which is in line with the spirits of International Law and reason – Ambassador Sarki has been under attack by several persons. Some are saying that he is pushing a homophobic agenda at the United Nations.
Kenny Brandmuse, a Nigerian homosexual and activist has also criticised Sarki. Kenny is in usual way sought to remind Sarki that Nigerian was neither a Christian or Muslim country that it’s a secular country therefore sodomy laws cannot be imposed on them. While I agree with Kenny that Nigeria is a secular country, this is even provided for in Section 10 of the Constitution as follows “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State religion.” It 1999 Constitution of Nigeria merely prescribes secularism. Secularism does not mean atheism and the Nigeria Constitution, laws and practices, recognize and acknowledge God. The Preamble to the 1999 Constitution proclaims Nigeria as “one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God”. It guarantees “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion”. Secularism under the Nigerian constitution does not mean moral neutrality but religious neutrality. Our laws recognize and integrate norms of morality which are distilled more from the moral imperative of social co-existence (which may be coincidental with the moral norms of native law and custom and Christian or Islamic moral injunctions) rather than predicated on any religion as such. As such it would utopic to claim that morality doesn’t affect our Laws. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 is an embodiment of Natural moral law etc.
Leo Igwe on the other hand has accused the Nigeria government of misplacing Her priority, that instead of tackling issues like poverty, unemployment, and insecurity, they are wasting time fighting homosexuality, he even posited that Sarki is not representing the position of millions of Nigerians that support without reservation and hesitation the efforts of the UN to protect the rights of religious, ethnic or sexual minorities. This is a big lie, when the Law prohibiting homosexual marriage was assented to in 2014, it received a thunderous applause from Nigerians so Leo Igwe assertion is unfounded.
I think Leo Igwe and his cohorts are misled as to the Nigerian Stance against homosexuality; the law that was passed was targeted against Homosexuals contracting a valid marriage and enjoying the rights that accrue to marriages, it was also targeted towards prohibiting public show of homosexual tendencies so as not to offend the public morality which the government is compelled to under the constitution to protect. That doesn’t mean that the government is encouraging hatred against homosexuals, as such the government is ready to prosecute anyone who assaults anyone for the singular fact of their LGBT status.
On the issue of misplacement of priority, I think it’s the United Nations that has misplaced its priority long ago, created to sustain peace around the globe, it has left its raison d’être of its creation and now they are now pursing anomalies in the name of widening Human Rights. As regards people being killed because they are homosexuals the data is very minimal, on the other hand there are graver human right violations in China, Syria, Iran, Nigeria(Boko Haram) and the UN is just playing lip service.
It’s not in doubt that homosexuality is an aberrant behaviour, there is no conclusive empirical evidence proving that such individuals are born that way, it’s a way of life just the same way somebody chooses to be a criminal, should we then legalise criminality because it makes some people happy? We can’t.
We stand with Ambassador Sarki, he is doing a great job, and we are proud that a Nigerian is challenging the World to align itself with reason.