United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has urged African leaders to respect gay rights, the AFP
Speaking during a two-day summit taking
place at the African Union's new building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
Ban criticized laws that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender people.
“One form of discrimination ignored
or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
He said such laws “prompted
governments to treat people as second class citizens or even
“Confronting these discriminations is
a challenge, but we must not give up on the ideas of the universal
declaration [of human rights],” he added.
Anti-gay sentiment on the African
continent remains high. Gay sex is illegal in most African
countries, including Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Botswana.
African leaders have previously
criticized the United States and Britain for calling on nations to
decriminalize gay relationships.
In announcing a
new global initiative to support gay rights at the United Nations
offices in Geneva last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
said it was a “violation of human rights when governments declare
it is illegal to be gay.”