Activists want gay rights on Africa summit agenda

Associated Press

AFP Videos

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law

Now watching

Next video starts in : 7 Play

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law

Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law
Replay video
Up next

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins Up next

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins

Human rights and gay rights activists on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week's summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, and Human Rights First, which advocates aggressive U.S. stances on human rights issues abroad, issued a statement depicting the summit as a "once-in-a-generation moment" to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

According to the two groups, 37 African countries with more than 800 million residents have laws criminalizing LGBT relationships, and leaders of 32 of those countries have been invited to the Aug. 4-6 summit.

Among the invitees are Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, who signed harsh anti-gay laws earlier this year.

In response to Uganda's law — which strengthens penalties for gay sex and makes life sentences possible for violators — the U.S. imposed visa bans on some Ugandan officials and halted or redirected funding from institutions involved in human rights abuses.

Shawn Gaylord, Human Rights First's advocacy counsel for LGBT rights, expressed support for these steps and called on the Obama administration to conduct a full diplomatic review of U.S. policy in Nigeria.

"We believe the U.S. can do more in both Nigeria and Uganda to ensure that U.S. funding is not being given to any institution or group that is abusing human rights, including actively discriminating against the LGBT community," he said in an email. "We recognize that this is a difficult process with competing interests, made more difficult by the rhetoric espoused by some leaders that the movement for the rights of LGBT people is something invented in the West and being imposed upon African societies. "

Gaylord paid tribute to African citizens who have spoken out against anti-gay discrimination.

"These people — activists, leaders, lawyers, religious figures and others — need to know that they have support around the world and this summit is an ideal time to signal that support," he said.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, indicated that gay-rights issues would be raised at the summit.

"The Obama Administration has long spoken out — including with our African partners — in support of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals," he said in an email. "We expect the summit will provide an opportunity to continue these conversations."

The two rights groups issued a country-by-country report detailing Africa's existing anti-LGBT laws, as well as cases of discrimination and violence.

The groups praised the Obama administration for a series of steps aimed at promoting gay rights internationally, but they suggested more could be done to block or overturn anti-gay legislation.

Among its initiatives, the administration has increased the number of openly gay U.S. ambassadors serving abroad. Some U.S. embassies flew the rainbow flag this year to celebrate local gay pride parades.

Obama, while visiting Senegal last year, urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians. Senegal's president, Macky Sall, bluntly responded that his country "still isn't ready" to decriminalize homosexuality.

___

Follow David Crary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP

View Comments (112)

Recommended for You

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the…

    AFP
  • U.S. may review 1959 airplane crash that killed Buddy Holly

    (Reuters) - U.S. transportation safety investigators said on Wednesday they are reviewing a request to reopen a probe into the 1959 airplane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson, better known as "The Big Bopper," and their pilot. The original investigation 56…

    Reuters
  • France, Cameroon wouldn't take foreigner later shot by LAPD

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A homeless foreigner shot to death by Los Angeles police was in the country illegally after serving time for a bank robbery but couldn't be deported because no country would take him, U.S. immigration authorities said Wednesday.

    Associated Press46 mins ago
  • Marijuana Growers Arrested After Pocket Dialing 911

    Three men in California were arrested Monday night after one of the suspects pocket dialed 911. The emergency operator who took the call heard two of the men talking about the possibility of getting pulled over, leading to a major drug bust.

    KSWB - San Diego
  • 175-Pound Pit Bull Hulk Shatters Misconceptions About the Breed

    This dog just may be the world's largest Pit Bull. Only 18-months-old, Hulk weighs a hefty 175 pounds. He's also best friends with a 3-year-old boy.

    ABC News
  • Iranian president says Israel 'greatest danger'

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said Israel creates the "greatest danger" in the region, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic. In a speech on Capitol Hill, Netanyahu said Tuesday the nuclear agreement US President…

    AFP
  • Former marine reported killed in Syria

    A former Royal Marine has become the first Briton to be killed while fighting with Kurdish forces battling Islamic State jihadists in Syria, leaving his family "devastated" Wednesday. Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, died on Monday in a battle with IS militants, a source in the Kurdish People's…

    AFP
  • Killers sought in deaths of 300,000 chickens in South Carolina

    By Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - Revenge may be the motive for the killings in South Carolina of more than 300,000 commercial chickens worth about $1.7 million over the past two weeks, authorities said on Monday. Birds have been found dead of unnatural causes in 16 chicken houses at…

    Reuters
  • Americans Love K-Cups, but Their Creator Regrets Inventing Them

    Now it seems that John Sylvan, the inventor of the tiny containers, is firmly on Team #KillTheKCup too. “No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” said Sylvan.

    Takepart.com
  • Australians on Indonesia death row arrive on execution island

    Two Australian drug smugglers were taken Wednesday to an Indonesian island where they will be executed despite frantic diplomatic efforts to save them, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia was "revolted" by their looming deaths. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the…

    AFP
  • 'Thousands' of Russian troops in east Ukraine: US envoy

    The United States' senior envoy to Europe alleged Wednesday that Russia had deployed "thousands and thousands" of troops to neighboring Ukraine. Speaking to a congressional foreign affairs committee, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland also told US lawmakers that Russia was flooding…

    AFP
  • Couple plead not guilty to locking up kids 22 hours a day

    ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) — A husband and wife in Ohio pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that they kept three of their adopted children locked up 22 hours a day, gave them little to eat and beat them with a paddle that became stained with blood.

    Associated Press
  • Georgia police officer killed in shootout

    By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Georgia police officer was killed in a shootout with a suspect in suburban Atlanta early on Wednesday, authorities said. Officers went to investigate reports of shots in a suburban neighborhood and came under fire about 1:30 a.m. EST, according to the Fulton…

    Reuters
  • View

    Hello kitty and kitty and lots more kitties on Japanese island where cats rule (17 photos)

    An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one. Originally introduced to the mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen's…

    Yahoo News
  • Afghan forces kill dozens of militants in hostage rescue operation

    By Sarwar Amani KANDAHAR (Reuters) - Afghan security forces have killed dozens of militants in a military operation aimed at freeing a group of civilian hostages in southern Afghanistan, an army official said on Wednesday. Eyewitnesses said most passengers belonged to the ethnic Hazara minority, a…

    Reuters
  • Paris Hilton brother Conrad to plead guilty to plane assault

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paris Hilton's youngest brother, Conrad, agreed to plead guilty to assaulting flight attendants on a trip from London to Los Angeles last year when authorities say he called other passengers "peasants" and threatened to kill crew members.

    Associated Press
  • New Honda Civic breaks Nürburgring record

    The new Honda Civic Type R hot hatchback, officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on Wednesday, is now also officially the world's fastest front-wheel-drive car. As well as taking the wraps off the eagerly awaited 306bhp, 167mph (269km/h) car, Honda also revealed that in testing it had posted…

    AFP Relax News
  • Hundreds of starving koalas killed in Australia

    Close to 700 koalas have been killed off by authorities in southeastern Australia because overpopulation led to the animals starving, an official said Wednesday, sparking claims of mismanagement. Victoria state Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the koalas were euthanised around Cape Otway near…

    AFP