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UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon has told African leaders they must respect gay rights, speaking at the opening of a summit meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

Africa Leaders Must Respect Gay Rights: UN's Ban

Common Dreams staff

 

Agence France-Presse reports:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in an unusually outspoken declaration on Sunday, told African leaders they must respect gay rights, an issue that is controversial in many African states.

"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 at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital.

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

Homosexuality is outlawed in most African countries and discrimination against gays and lesbians is rife on the continent, with South Africa being the only country that recognizes gay rights and same-sex marriage, at least on paper. [...]

"Police power is no match to people power seeking dignity and justice" - - Ban Ki Moon"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. [...]

Ban also told leaders that they should respect democracy, noting that the Arab Spring revolutions that swept north Africa last year were "a reminder that leaders must listen to their people."

"Events proved that repression is a dead end. Police power is no match to people power seeking dignity and justice," he said.

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Germany's Deutsche Welle reports:

Widespread legal bans on homosexuality in most African countries have been challenged by UN chief Ban ki-moon at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. Ban said gay and gender rights must be respected.

UN Secretary General Ban accused many nations of the 54-member African Union of ignoring or "even sanctioning" discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for "too long."

South Africa is the only country on the continent that legally recognizes gay rights and same-sex marriage. Late last year, Uganda's parliament re-introduced a controversial bill that calls for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts.

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