Calling South African President Zuma in New York to Speak to AU for LGBT Human Rights

Melanie Nathan, January 10, 2012
President Jacob Zuma arrived in New York on Tuesday ahead of South Africa’s officially assuming the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for January.

“SA will utilize its presidency to continue exploring concrete measures for strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union,” spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

Monyela said it was expected the South African delegation would convene a debate with the aim of adopting concrete measures to ensure greater coherence between the UN and the AU.

Zuma and Finland President Tarja Halonen, would co-chair the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s high-level panel on global sustainability at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We will certainly take advantage of these important occasions to advance our international relations policy objectives… with a view to promoting democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights,” Zuma was quoted saying in the statement. – (Sapa reported )

Many African Union countries  institutionalize anti-homosexuality laws and are in flagrant disregard of the basic human rights of  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex citizen, enforcing harsh prison sentences against homosexuals.

President Zuma should heed his leadership under the mandate of the South African people who hold their all inclusive post-apartheid constitution close to heart.  The South African constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and provides the way for full LGBTI equality.

South African and International LGBTI activists and organizations should be urging President Zuma to ensure the values he intends to promote with the AU includes the issue of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Africa, as a matter of human rights imperative.

While this may be seen as a sensitive issue for many AU countries which use sovereignty and tribal culture as their anti-homosexuality excuse,  perhaps Mr. Zuma is the perfect leader to convey the contrary message.

South Africa comprises of hundreds of different African tribes, all coming together as one South Africa, willing to abide international standards for full acceptance in the  global socio-economic environment.

Perhaps Mr. Zuma can educate his fellow African Union members with the scientific data which will show that no amount of anti-gay rhetoric can negate the simple fact that whether African or Western, humankind is subject to a spectrum of sexual orientations and that to criminalize or deny a person their natural born orientation is contrary to basic human rights.

The following are countries which are members of the AU, and those with * criminalize homosexuality – the list is not may not be exhaustive. Also some countries apply Sharia law.

 Algeria* 2 years
 Angola * not enforced
 Botswana * not enforced
 Burkina Faso
 Cameroon* 5 years
 Cape Verde
 Central African Republic
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Republic of the Congo
 Côte d’Ivoire
 Equatorial Guinea
 Ethiopia unsure
 Gambia*14 years
 Guinea* 3 years
 Kenya* 14 years
 Libya* 5 years
 Mauritania* death penalty
 Mauritius trying to repeal
 Namibia* not enforced
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Seychelles changing law
 Sierra Leone
 South Africa
 South Sudan* 10 years 
 Swaziland* harsh punishment
 Tanzania* Up to life in prison
 Togo unsure
 Tunisia* 3 years
 Uganda* seeking death penalty
 Zambia* 14 years

Note  the following countries have signed the United Nations Declaration which speaks to these Human Rights:
South Africa – provides full LGBTI equality and anti-discrimination laws
Sierra Leone
Mauritius -Still need to decriminalize
Seychelles – Still needs to decriminalize
Cape Verde

CALL TO ACTION:   Contact President Zuma and ask him to ensure that LGBTI human rights are included in his Agenda.

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One Comment on “Calling South African President Zuma in New York to Speak to AU for LGBT Human Rights”

  1. Tracy January 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM #

    Hmm….When I saw “AU” in the heading, I thought you meant “AU” as in “Australia”…

    It looks like as the church- attending rates plummet in the western world, the religious pontificators (especially the RCC) have set their sights on these educationally disadvantaged countries to carry on their churches messages of hate & intolerance…


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