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US ends diplomatic visas for UN same-sex partners

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American and Pride flags held up

The US has announced it will deny diplomatic visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees.

The change went into effect on Monday, giving partners currently in the US until 31 December to leave, get married or otherwise change their visa.

It is a reversal of rules introduced in 2009.

Currently, 25 countries have recognised same-sex marriage. Homosexuality remains illegal in 71 countries.

The new Trump administration policy update was circulated in a United Nations (UN) memo.

The memo states: “As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change into such status.”

G-4 visas are granted to employees of international organisations and their immediate families.

According to the State Department, “only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes”.

The stage is set for a rally in support of same sex marriage with balloon letters reading YES and rainbow balloons
Image captionSame-sex marriage remains unrecognised or illegal across much of the world

In a 12 July note to the UN, the US Mission to the UN lauded the change as a step towards equality, saying “same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses”, US media report.

But critics have called the move unfair to homosexual partners, given a large number of countries do not recognise same-sex marriage.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power decried the policy, calling it “needlessly cruel and bigoted”.

“Couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalises homosexuality or same-sex marriages.”

After the end of this year, unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats and UN employees will be expected to leave the US within 30 days if they remain unmarried and without a visa status change.

The only exception, however, would be same-sex partners of officials coming from countries that do not recognise same-sex marriage.

They will be granted a diplomatic visa if the government which sends them to work in their embassies in the US grants the same privileges to same-sex partners of US officials sent to that country.

A senior State Department official told the BBC that they are concerned about the human rights implications of the change and are willing to discuss individual concerns.

The new policy is a reversal of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2009 decision to allow same-sex domestic partners of foreign officials diplomatic visas.

State Department officials say there are around 105 families total that could be affected by the policy.

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, there are at least 10 UN employees in the US with same-sex domestic partners who will need to be married by next year in order to maintain their partner’s visa.

Akshaya Kumar, the Deputy UN Director of Human Rights Watch, wrote that the change “will have an insidious impact on same-sex couples”.

“The US government should recognise, as it had for almost nine years until today, that requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the terrible discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries, and should be immediately reversed.”

There are currently 71 countries that criminalise same-sex relations, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Several others have some form of legal restriction, and same-sex relationships can carry the death penalty in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

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Veteran actor, Bruno Iwuoha dies at 68

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Veteran Nollywood actor, Bruno Iwuoha, has died after losing a protracted battle with diabetes and blindness. He was aged 68.

He died at the National Hospital Abuja in the early of today Saturday, April 10.

The Abia-state born actor had been in coma for about three weeks before giving up. His body has been deposited at the hospital mortuary.

Film maker, Derek Zai has taken to their social media handle to mourn him. He wrote;

A good man, has gone home to be with his Father, daddy its so painful doing this, we love you but God loves you more”

Bruno Obinna Iwuoha acted in many films and also won several awards in his career.

He won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 3rd Africa Movie Academy Awards for his performance in the movie “Sins of the Flesh”.

Some of the other films where he featured are: World Apart, Magic Cap, Keeping Close, Another Bondage, Faces Of Love, Days Of Hatred,Two Bad Boys.

 

Veteran actor, Bruno Iwuoha dies at 68

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Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu Has Reacts to the brutality against Occupy Lekki Tollgate protesters

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has condemned the brutal treatment meted out on protesters at the Lekki tollgate.

Reacting, the Lagos State governor ordered the state’s Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, to investigate the incident.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, disclosed this at a joint briefing by the state government and the Lekki Concession Company on Monday, Feb 15, in Lagos.

He reiterated that Lagos State government, under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would never trample on people’s rights.

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we may not need Amotekun, the time for state police is now – Governor Akeredolu

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Governor  Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State,  who hosted representatives of lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress South-West caucus in the House of Representatives who paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Tuesday, February 2, stated that there will be no need for Amotekun if there is state police.

He said;

”The most important thing you have said is that we have to think about our people first and in doing that, we have to make a declaration. We felt convinced that we can not have a situation where a first-class Oba is killed, a deputy registrar was killed, and the wife of the chief of staff was kidnapped. It’s one of the things that led us to create Amotekun.

“When we came up with Amotekun, people were scared they thought it was state police, but we stood our ground and Amotekun has come to stay. You have a duty to us, to our people and that has to do with the issue of state police. The time is now. This rampant security challenge is virtually everywhere. This issue of state police, we need to pursue.

“If we have the state police, we may not need Amotekun. It will be a great fight for our people. We must stand together. I commend the Governor of Kano State who said cows should not be moved to the south again for grazing.”

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