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Nigerian Law Banning Same Sex Marriage Imperils Foreign HIV/AIDS Aid

A new law being considered in Nigeria would impose far-reaching prohibitions on same sex relations. The bill could also directly impact foreign funded programs to stem the spread of HIV in Africa’s most populous country. “Under the proposed law passed by Senate this week, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. The bill also punishes the ‘public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly’ with ten years in prison. A newly added portion of the bill, leveling 10 years in prison for those found guilty of organizing, operating or supporting gay clubs, organizations and meetings, worries advocates in Nigeria. They fear the law could be used against groups providing aid for HIV and AIDS outreach programs that traditionally consider gay men as an at-risk group. ‘We work with them trying to reduce their risk factors, trying to make them more healthy and have safer sex practices,’ said Meyiwa Ede of the donor-funded public health organization Society for Family Health. “If we can’t work with them anymore, then they are vulnerable.’” (WaPo http://wapo.st/sroRRz)

Who’s Missing from the Bonn Conference

The Bonn Conference on Afghanistan kicks off today. All the talk is about who will not be in the room during the first major international conference on Afghanistan in several years. “Representatives of 85 countries and 16 international organizations have gathered in Bonn, Germany, to try to chart a course for Afghanistan after NATO troops pull out in 2014. But hopes for outlining a clear future at the so-called Bonn II Conference have been set back by the absence of two key players in any Afghan peace process — the Taliban and Pakistan’s government, reports RFE/RL’s Charles Recknagel. ‘Here in Bonn, Afghan officials have confirmed to RFE/RL that there are neither any active Taliban members nor any prominent former Taliban members present,’ Recknagel said. He notes that this is important because ‘both are essential to concluding any kind of stable peace agreement that could last after foreign forces leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.’” (RFE/RL http://bit.ly/vIaYZf)

George W Bush Kicks of African Tour

Despite a call from Amnesty International that he be arrested as soon as he sets foot on foreign soil, George W Bush is touring Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania this week. On Sunday, Bush delivered a keynote at a major HIV conference in Addis in which he urged African governments to effectively implement foreign aid. “African leaders must ensure that programmes to fight HIV/AIDS on the ravaged continent are successfully carried out, former US president George W. Bush said Sunday. Bush said at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA) in Africa that funding from foreign donors such as the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) alone was not enough. ‘PEPFAR also relies on African leaders to take responsibility for the success of programs,’ he said. ‘The developing world must set priorities and there is no greater priority than saving a human life,’ he added. (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/tynEiV)

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