Robert Mugabe had a message for the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday: “We are not gays!” The long-tenured dictator in Zimbabwe rejected efforts by the United Nations to establish gay rights in his country, and though he acknowledged the human rights responsibilities of all member states, Mugabe rejected what he called “new rights.”
Writes CNN on Sept. 29: “Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, lashed out at the West and spoke out against homosexuality during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.”
Mugabe – who once described homosexuals as “worse than pigs and dogs” – drew a few audible gasps and even some light laughter from the assembly.
“We equally reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our norms, values, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays. Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification and double standards will not,” Mugabe said from the speaker’s platform to the members of the General Assembly.
Mugabe urged nations to look at Africa as an opportunity for economic advancement, and also decried the fact that none of the over 50 countries in his continent have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
“Africa is not looking for handouts,” the 91-year-old Mugabe said. “Rather it is looking for partners in massive infrastructure development…The entire world stands to benefit from an economically empowered African continent than from one emasculated by deprivation and with an over dependence on others…While the world has drastically changed since 1945, the United Nations and indeed the global governance architecture remains mired in a long bygone era. This archaic hierarchy among nations threatens to erode the confidence and support that the United Nations commands among the majority, but disadvantaged of its membership.”
Adds FirstPost.com: “That Zimbabwe has one of the worst LGBT rights records is well known, but it was made clearer when the country’s president Robert Mugabe used the platform of the UN to express his disgust towards homosexuality.”
In 2011, Mugabe called British Prime Minister David Cameron “Satanic” for supporting gay rights. “It becomes worse and Satanic when you get a prime minister like Cameron saying countries that want British aid should accept homosexuality,” he said at the time.
According to a July 2014 report from HumanRightsFirst.org, homosexuality in Zimbabwe remains punishable by up to a year in prison. The U.S. State Department reports “widespread societal discrimination based on sexual orientation” in Zimbabwe and LGBT organizations and activists face frequent harassment and arrest by the government. “President Robert Mugabe is considered one of Africa’s most virulently anti-LGBT leaders and has said that ‘gays have no human rights,’” the report states.