Johannesburg - South Africa should add its voice to calls for Nigeria to review its homophobic legislation, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Wednesday.
“Since 18 January, dozens of people have already been arrested in Nigeria in terms of the new law,” spokesman Isaac Mangena said in a statement.
“The SAHRC believes that the South African government must seek to exert influence over other African countries to follow good human rights practices...”
Nigeria's new law, which was passed last month, bans same-sex marriages. Agence France-Presse reported that the legislation imposes penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment for anyone who enters such a union, and 10 years for anyone supporting gay groups or clubs.
The European Union, Canada, and the United States have criticised it, saying it negated fundamental human rights.
“The SAHRC is concerned at the alarming growth of state-sanctioned homophobia taking place across the globe and particularly on the African continent,” Mangena said.
“(We) call on the South African government to do more to engage diplomatically with African countries that seek to outlaw fundamental freedoms and human rights.”