Outgoing Labour MEP Michael Cashman has condemned the appointment of Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa as the next President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr Cashman, who stands down from the European Parliament early next month, has called on the UK Government to block the appointment because of Mr Kutesa’s support for Uganda’s anti-gay laws.
“As a cabinet member and supporter of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed by the Ugandan President four months ago, Mr Kutesa bears direct responsibility for this law and the rampant homophobia in Ugandan society,” Mr Cashman said in a statement to PinkNews.co.uk.
“Placing Mr Kutesa in such a prominent position is an insult to the founding values and principles of the United Nations. I cannot imagine the United Nations will continue its sterling work as the guardian of our human rights, including of LGBTI people, with an outspoken homophobe at one of the top positions,” he added.
Despite widespread criticism by human rights campaigners, Mr Kutesa is due to become president of the global parliamentary forum on Wednesday 11 June.
Mr Cashman has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to block the appointment. He said: “I urge David Cameron to speak out against his nomination and to use all tools at his disposal to prevent it.
“If his government is consistent and serious about human rights, it cannot remain silent and tacitly endorse his inauguration which would make a joke of the work we have all been doing against homophobia which still today kills and ruins lives”.
Last week, Mr Kutesa rejected criticism of his record. He previously claimed that the majority of Africans “abhor” homosexuality.