Ban: Africa leaders must respect gay rights

2012-01-29 16:02

Addis Ababa - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the opening of a summit meeting on Sunday, told African leaders they must respect gay rights.

"One form of discrimination ignored or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Ban said.

"It prompted governments to treat people as second class citizens or even criminals," he added.

Homosexuality is illegal in several African countries, and previous external criticism of restrictions imposed upon homosexuals has attracted angry responses from African leaders, who claim it is alien to their culture.

After Commonwealth leaders refused to adopt reforms to abolish homophobic laws in 41 member nations, British Prime Minister David Cameron said last year he would consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognise gay rights.

"Confronting these discriminations is a challenge, but we must not give up on the ideas of the universal declaration" of human rights, Ban told the summit.

Gay rights in Africa, most notably in Uganda, have made the news on several occasions last year.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but a controversial bill that calls for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts was re-introduced in the Ugandan parliament late last year.

The proposed legislation envisages stiffer punishments - including the death penalty - for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV.

Gay rights activists have blamed an increase in homophobia in Uganda on evangelical preachers, some of whom are close to the regime of President Yoweri Museveni.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  david cameron  |  ban ki-moon  |  uganda  |  ethiopia  |  gay rights  |  east africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

LIVE: Canada v Romania
Heyneke: Still some loose ends
LIVE: Fiji v Uruguay
Does De Kock's fate await Paige?
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.