Ugandan Foreign Minister, Sam Kutesa, has controversially been elected as the President of the United Nations’ General Assembly causing an international outcry because of his questionable human rights abuses and anti-gay policies.
Kutesa’s 12 month term as the 69th President of the General Assembly commences in September, however protests for the replacement of the senior leader has already assembled thousands of campaigners as well as international scrutiny.
While the Minister denies ties with Uganda’s aggressive anti –gay laws which convict same sex couples living together to life sentences in prison, and seven years in prison for those who promote or aid of gay rights, he is on record of endorsing Ugandan President Museveni’s introduction of the laws earlier this year stating, “we shall not accept promotion and exhibition, because we think that is wrong for our young people and it offends our culture.”
In response to the rejection of his assignment, Kutesa addressed opposition affirming that he has never been found corrupt. He stated, “I am not homophobic and I believe that I am the person to lead this organisation for the next session.”
Criticism of Kutesa’s appointment has manifested international condemnation resulting in the United States’ action to ban certain Ugandan officials from access to the country as well as suspending aid donations. United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power recently addressed the situation, stating, “LGBT rights are human rights and the steps taken make clear that the United States will take action to defend those rights. The discriminatory laws in Uganda that criminalises homosexual status should be repealed, as should laws and policies in the more than 76 countries around the world that criminalize homosexuality.”
Several other nations, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have also ceased to provide aid to Uganda since the introduction of the anti-gay laws, whilst the World Bank has postponed a loan of 90 million dollars.
Despite the growing action against such laws and Kutesa’s Presidency, the Ugandan government has expressed that it will not repeal its laws.
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