Uganda's horrific anti-gay law is notorious. It can land people in prison for years for even expressing support for LGBT rights. Gay couples themselves can be locked away for life, for the mere "crime" of loving someone of the same gender. And Uganda's foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, has done nothing to stop those policies from instilling fear and pain throughout the country. In fact, Kutesa told the press after the law passed, most Africans "hate and fear" homosexuality.
These policies have had a devastating effect on LGBT Ugandans. Extreme anti-gay violence -- including lynching, blackmail and arson -- has increased tenfold since the bill's passage. Clearly, Kutesa sees no problem with the environment of bigotry he is abetting, which is why it's so alarming that he is now the president of the United Nation's general assembly.
Though the position is often largely ceremonial, this year, Kutesa will be able to oversee agenda-setting for the UN's next round of development goals, potentially changing the focus of the group's future initiatives. Just as importantly, his appointment signifies the UN's willingness to overlook hatred, violence and corruption from its leaders -- which is no way to encourage peace throughout the world.
The UN has put incredible power in the hands of this homophobe. Clearly this was not a serious consideration during the appointment process. It's important that we send the message that the world is watching and that we disapprove. Demand that UN leaders revoke Kutesa's appointment to the general assembly presidency immediately!