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Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of Nigeria about (a) press freedom, (b) civil liberties and (c) human rights. (93528)

We raise any specific concerns about human rights, or other restrictions, directly with the Nigerian Government. Two recent examples were:

in May 2006, officials from our high commission in Abuja joined with EU partners, in making representations to the Nigerian Government on a homosexuality Bill stressing that, if adopted, it would be incompatible with Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights treaties;

in June 2006, the high commission in Abuja issued a statement expressing our concern about the detention by the Nigerian authorities of two journalists who had written a derogatory article about the purchase of a new presidential plane.

Both issues were resolved satisfactorily.

We continue to monitor the human rights situation in Nigeria and we will raise any further shortcomings with the appropriate authorities as and when they arise.