Ugandan Chosen For UN General Assembly President Opposed by Gay Rights Supporters

uganda ministerThe expected election of Uganda’s foreign minister as U.N. General Assembly president in New York on Wednesday has provoked opposition in the United States.

Politicians have joined thousands in signing a petition urging U.N. member states to block Sam Kutesa because of his country’s treatment of gay people.

Kutesa, 65, is Africa’s unanimous pick for the largely ceremonial role.

But critics are opposed because in February Uganda passed a law threatening homosexuals with life in prison.

It would be “disturbing to see the foreign minister of a country that passed an unjust, harsh and discriminatory law” preside over the U.N. body, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told¬†Associated Press.

It is Africa’s turn to make the ceremonial appointment, reports the BBC’s U.N. correspondent Nick Bryant, and Kutesa represented the continent’s unanimous choice.

Kutesa, a lawyer and member of parliament, has been Ugandan minister of foreign affairs since January 2005.

On Wednesday, he is expected to be formally elected to the U.N. general assembly presidency.

In response, more than 9,000 people have signed an online petition urging U.N. member states and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to block Kutesa’s appointment.

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