Thursday, April 3, 2014

Belgian Prime Minister pleads gay rights to African leaders

BRUSSELS -- Belgium's openly gay Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo urged African leaders attending an EU-Africa summit to respect the rights of minorities, particularly those victimised for their sexual orientation.
Di Rupo spoke Wednesday evening at the welcome dinner for EU and African dignitaries which included the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria, where draconian anti-gay laws were recently implemented resulting in international condemnation and suspension of financial aid by EU members and the United States.
"We can not tolerate that some are denied their rights and persecuted for their origins, their sexual orientation, their religion and their convictions." Di Rupo said.
The 4th EU-Africa Summit brought together EU and African leaders to discuss the future of EU-Africa relations and reinforce links between the two continents. In the summit declaration, leaders highlighted the close nature of EU-Africa relations and the shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance as well as the right to development. Many African countries, with the notable exception of South Africa, have laws that ban or repress homosexuality.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who attended the summit, signed a bill earlier this year that calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be jailed for life and requires people to report homosexuals.
Nigeria in January banned same-sex marriage and civil unions while same-sex relationships could trigger a death sentence under Sharia Islamic law which applies along with federal law in the north of the country. There have already been several documented cases of violence against the LGBTQ community in Nigeria since the law's passage.