US: President Obama glosses over LGBT rights at Africa Leaders Summit
President Barack Obama did not directly address LGBT rights during his closing remarks for the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
The President said in his remarks: “Some African nations are making impressive progress. But we see troubling restrictions on universal rights.
“So today was an opportunity to highlight the importance of rule of law, open and accountable institutions, strong civil societies, and protection of human rights for all citizens and all communities.”
Obama again broadly addressed human rights in response to an inquiry from a Kenyan newspaper during his remarks.
He said: “We find that in some cases engaging a country that generally is a good partner but is not performing optimally when it comes to all of the various categories of human rights, that we can be effective by working with them on certain areas, and criticizing them and trying to elicit improvements in other areas.
“And even among countries that generally have strong human rights records, there are areas where there are problems. That’s true of the United States, by the way.”
Earlier in the summit, Obama mentioned the need to treat “people of different races and faiths and sexual orientations fairly and equally” during a forum.
At a dinner during the summit, Obama commended “advocates standing up for justice” and those working to aid HIV and AIDS advocacy and research.
The summit drew over 50 African leaders to Washington D.C.
Homosexuality remains illegal in more than 30 African countries. In some regions, engaging in same-sex sexual behavior can result in the death penalty.
The Council for Global Equality, a group representing international human rights activists focusing on global LGBT issues, called on President Obama to pay “particular attention” to “the next generation” of LGBT Africans at the summit.