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US President Joe Biden has relaunched the US global campaign to make LGBTQ rights accepted worldwide.
The campaign following the policy of former President Barack Obama in 2011 is particularly geared towards countries perceived as intolerant to sexual minorities.
Biden in a memo last week directed all U.S. embassies and executive departments to “promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons everywhere.”
He added, “Specifically, I direct the following actions, consistent with applicable law:
“Section 1. Combating Criminalization of LGBTQI+ Status or Conduct Abroad. Agencies engaged abroad are directed to strengthen existing efforts to combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBTQI+ status or conduct and expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBTQI+ status or conduct.”
It warned, “When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.”
Nigeria is one of the countries with a law that criminalises homosexuality.
The administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan signed the law against same-sex marriage in 2014. The law prescribes a 14-year jail term for anyone guilty of same-sex ‘amorous relationships’ and membership of gay rights groups.
The law has come under increased scrutiny amid claims of oppression of homosexuals in the country, but there are questions it can be changed over.