John M. Becker

Anti-Gay Ugandan Minister Elected UN President

Filed By John M. Becker | June 11, 2014 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: jail the gays, Sam Kutesa, Samantha Power, Uganda, Uganda anti-gay law, UN, United Nations

sam-kutesa-holding-bible.jpgSam Kutesa, Uganda's corrupt foreign affairs minister and a key spokesperson for President Yoweri "Jail the Gays" Museveni, has been elected to the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly.

In this ceremonial yet prestigious position, Kutesa -- who defends Uganda's draconian anti-gay law and calls homosexuality abhorrent and offensive -- will preside over a body that is regularly addressed by major world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

BBC News reports:

It is Africa's turn to make the ceremonial appointment, reports the BBC's UN correspondent Nick Bryant, and Mr. Kutesa represented the continent's unanimous choice. Mr. Kutesa, a lawyer and MP, has been Ugandan minister of foreign affairs since January 2005.

In his acceptance speech on Wednesday, Mr. Kutesa said his unanimous election was a sign of trust and confidence in him and a recognition of Uganda's contributions.

Ambassador Samantha Power, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, said in a statement that Kutesa's presidency must not weaken the United Nations' strong commitment to worldwide LGBT equality:

The UN Charter places respect for human rights and dignity at its core, and it is the job of the General Assembly -- and its President -- to uphold these principles. At a time when girls are attacked by radical extremists for asserting their right to an education; representatives of civil society are harassed and even imprisoned for their work; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are endangered for who they are, including by discriminatory laws, the work of the United Nations to advance equality, justice, and dignity for all could not be more urgent.

In the face of these challenges, all of us working in and at the United Nations should recommit to vigorously defending these core principles.

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