Australia condemns Ugandan and Nigerian anti-gay laws
Australia has lodged formal diplomatic protests over new anti-homosexuality laws in Nigeria and Uganda.
A new Nigerian law would see gays sentenced to 14 years in prison, while Uganda's much reviled anti-homosexuality laws could see life imprisonment - or even death - for certain acts.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr today said the measures were "a disgrace to human decency and should be withdrawn.”
“Australia has consistently opposed these Ugandan and Nigerian laws.
“We’ve conveyed this message directly to these governments and urged them to think again.
“And we’ll continue to voice Australia’s opposition if these matters are returned before the Ugandan or Nigerian parliaments in 2013.”
Uganda's so-call "Kill the Gays" Bill was returned as part of a packed agenda when their parliment resumed this week.
The original draft of the anti-gay legislation included a provision for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, defined as someone with HIV engaging in homosexual acts, sex with a minor or repeated offenses of homosexuality.
It also included prison sentences for any member of the public who "failed to report" homosexual acts.
There is confusion over the Ugandan bill because last year it was stated that the death penalty clause had been removed, yet copies of the draft available to the public still contain the death penalty.
It is expected to go before the House for its third reading, when it will be either adopted or rejected.
Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law has already passed its Parliament, but hasn't been signed into law, yet. It allows for penalties of up to 14 years for homosexual acts and people who speak up for LGBTI rights are potentially open to prosecution.
The Ugandan and Nigerian bills have also drawn the condemnation of US President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the British, Canadian and French governments.
Australia has made official protests against the proposed laws previously in 2010, 2011, and twice in 2012.