In what seems to be an unusual turn around, Zambian President Michael Sata has ‘welcomed’ gay rights in Zambia.
By Melanie Nathan, 02/29/2012
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says he knows that the Government of Zambia has formed a principled position in promoting and respecting the human rights of all, regardless of age, religion or sexual orientation, in line with the fundamental principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zambia is a signatory.
Ban Ki-Moon made this known when he met President Michael Sata at State House on Sunday. According to press statement issued by Eimear McDermott of the UN Communications Group, Ban Ki- Moon added that human beings are born with equal rights and that he has been urging the world leaders of many countries, in particular those where people have been discriminated against, and even punished and criminalized, based on their sexual orientation, to form and uphold principled positions that protect the rights of all.
Following his official visit to State House, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a statement to the press emphasizing that he was happy with the discussions and extremely impressed by the progress being made in Zambia in promoting democratic governance.
The Secretary-General added that he had invited President Sata to the Rio+20 Summit in June. The Summit will provide an important opportunity for world leaders to discuss sustainable development, climate change, water scarcity, food crisis, energy shortages, gender empowerment, and global health issues.
During the run up to the elections that brought the PF to power, the issue of gay rights became a hot issue. Infamous freelance journalist Chanda Chimba III repeatedly explained that if the PF won, they would legalize homosexuality in Zambia because they have been sponsored to do so. Chimba was demonized and even sued.
When British Prime Minister David Cameron announced in November 2011 that British aid will be withdrawn from countries who infringed the human rights of LGBT people, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs minister, Given Lubinda reacted against Cameron. Yet much to the confusion of some in Zambia, Lubinda was associated with escorting Ban Ki-Moon when he was promoting gay rights in Zambia.
Lubinda has also not said anything probably because he knows his cabinet has since resolved to support rights of the gay community.