In a speech to the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the end to discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. General Ban Ki-moon encouraged renewed efforts to ensure women’s greater representation in parliaments in African countries and stated the importance of ensuring that women are part of the peace process in Africa.
He remarked, “We must ensure that women are fully represented in in decision-making bodies, including in Egypt and Tunisia where they played a role” in the protests of the Arab Spring. He also described women as “champions of peace.”
The Secretary General denounced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which is criminalized in many African countries, saying, “This has prompted some governments to treat people as second-class citizens, or even criminals. Confronting discrimination is a challenge.” Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa, which recognizes gay marriage, but even there, anti-gay practices such as “corrective rapes” of lesbians, are commonplace.