Family Watch International Fights UN Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Human Rights Initiatives

By Bruce Knotts

The UUA's United Nations Office has been following the very disturbing trend of American fundamentalist ministers and politicians stoking the flames of homophobic bigotry around the world. Countries of particular recent concern have been Uganda, Malawi, Jamaica and Nigeria. Family Watch International, which does nothing to strengthen families, has launched a very disturbing campaign to encourage hatred towards people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Recently, these attacks have been aimed at the United Nations itself, because the UN system, including the UN Human Rights Council, had been far more vocal than in times past in condemning violence, criminalization and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There is, however, counter-movement in Africa, long thought to be a bastion of homophobia. South Africa recently introduced a motion in the UN Human Rights Council opposing criminalization and discrimination and this resolution was supported by some other African countries as well and was passed. Seeing this shift in African opinion regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, the radical fundamentalist movement in the United States has stepped up is advocacy and funding to promote hatred and the violence such hatred causes against innocent people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Recently in Nigeria, the coach of the national women's soccer team expelled several players purely on unsubstantiated allegations that they were lesbian women. Now we see Family Watch International stepping up its efforts to slow to a crawl any human rights progress in Nigeria.
As the most populous and one of the wealthiest African counties, Nigeria can serve as a strong role model for other governments in the region to follow on how to hold on to their family values despite intense international pressure. In fact, several days after the conference, the head of the Anglican Church called upon the Nigerian government to withdraw from the United Nations because of its push to further the cause of homosexuality. In Nigeria, homosexual behavior is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In the Islamic North, where Sharia law is enforced, gays can be sentenced to death by stoning. According to Family Watch International, Nigeria is a role model. Continue reading

About the Author

Bruce Knotts

Bruce Knotts is the Director of the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations. He was born and raised in Southern California. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Pepperdine University and his Master’s Degree in International Education from the Monterey Institute of...


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