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Addis Ababa

United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon has urged African leaders to respect the rights of their gay and lesbian citizens. Some African nations have treated gays like "secondclass citizens or even criminals", the UN chief declared Sunday at the opening of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Let me mention one form. of discrimination that has been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This has prompted some governments to treat people as secondclass citizens, or even criminals. Confronting this discrimination is a challenge. But we must live up to the ideas of the Universal Declaration. . The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a promise to all people in all places at all times."

Samesex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nationsMauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudanboast the death penalty for gays or samesex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality.

In recent months both the United States and the United Kingdom have warned they would use foreign aid to push for decriminalization of samesex relations across the socially conservative continent. Africa boasts twothirds of the world HIV/AIDS cases. Many experts believe the prohibitions against homosexuality discourage many HIV positive gay African men from seeking treatment.

The African Union summit opens as tensions and violence are escalating across the continent. Nigeria has been rocked by terrorism and sectarian violence that has killed hundreds. The growing tension between Sudan and South Sudan and the war in Somalia are also expected to be major discussion points.

President John Evans Atta Mills and members of Ghana's parliament are outraged after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that foreign aid should be decreased to countries that do not respect gay rights.

Officials and religious leaders in the West African nation have compared the suggestion to colonialism and "oppression", reports Radio Netherlands Worldwide Africa.

Reverend George Asante, the head pastor of the Christian Messengers Church in Ghana's second largest city Kumasi, opposes the UK premier's ideas. "Homosexuality is wrong on so many levels. From a constitutional and religious point of view it is illegal and must never be tolerated," he says. Ghanaian law does indeed prohibit the practice of homosexuality, which makes it difficult for gay people to express themselves.

Cameron's threats haven't impressed President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana. Cameron said that "British aid should have more strings attached While we appreciate all the financial assistance and aid which has been given to us by our development partners, we will not accept any aid with strings attached if that aid doesn't serve our interests."

Reverend Asante [believes] that "Ghanaians must resist every form. of oppression even if it means economic sanctions. Historically we have never condoned homosexuality, which is why Ghana's constitution makes sure that any form. of unnatural sex isn't legalised." But [the] constitution of Ghana doesn't explicitly mention homosexuality.

RNWA quoted one gay Ghanaian who supported sanctions. But many other African LGBT and human rights groups have publicly distanced themselves from Cameron's position.

Several MPs said "to hell with their aid," reports Ghana's MyJoyOnline.

Gbediame . asked Ghanaians, especially, Christians to remain firm behind the government in the fight against gay rights to avoid the wrath of God visiting us. A number of African leaders have criticized the suggestion and Britain apparently is backpedaling.

Recent months have seen an increase in antigay rhetoric coning from elected officials and media in the West African nation. Last summer, President Mills denounced homosexuality and the Western Region Minister Ryan Broyles Authentic Jersey announced the "immediate arrest of all homosexuals."

More than 100 Africanbased activists and organizations issued a statement criticizing Cameron's suggestion on the eve of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many activists from Cameroon, Nigeria and other African nations have said that antigay persecution has escalated in recent months as a result of Cameron's threat.

You May Have Missed . Amazing Video of "Out and Proud" Gay Men in Ghana Calls for Commonwealth to Repeal AntiGay Laws African LGBT Leader Joel Nana Criticizes UK PM Cameron Africa's AntiGay Laws Focus at ICASA 2011 in Addis Ababa Tanzania Slams UK Threat to Withdraw Aid Zambia Criticizes UK Threat to Withdraw Aid Zimbabwe's Mugabe Calls Cameron "Satanic" ZIM PM Tsvangirai Continues Calling for Gay Rights ZIM: Tsvangirai Slammed Over Support for Gay Rights ZIMBABWE: PM Tsvangirai Now Calls for Gay Rights

If you driving to Bole International Airport or the Millenium Conference Center in Addis Ababa, you definitely encounter this "767" touching down in traffic. The London Cafe is across Bole Road from the conference center. The bar is enshrouded in a gigantic, inflatable replica of an Ethiopian Airlines 767.

It a tourist attraction and advertising for the airline. Fun concept .

But notice the armed soldiers and street beggars outside. Those are the realities of life in Ethiopia.

Bole Road is the major commercial strip that connects Bole International Airport and the Millenium Conference Hall to downtown Addis Ababa. The mountains that surround Addis Ababa are in the background.

PHOTO: Rod McCullom

ADDIS ABABA: The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) has ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The final plenary session was delivered by Debrework Zewdie, PhD, the Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world's largest multilateral donor to the HIV/AIDS response in the developing world. Zewdie assured the thousands in attendance that despite recent financial setbacks the Fund would continue to "campaign, raise funds and place pressure on governments in both the donor and recipient arenas."

"We have a strategy to save 16 million lives by 2016," Dr. Zewdie told Rod 2.0 in a oneonone interview before the the plenary. "I'm confident in that strategy."

Dr. Zewdie is a native of Ethiopia, has a doctorate in Louis Delmas Elite Jersey Immunology from the University of London, was a Senior MacArthur Fellow at Harvard University and was formerly the Global HIV/AIDS Advisor for the World Bank. Dr. Zewdie's team reached out to Rod 2.0 at ICASA 2011 to discuss the Global Fund's long term health and funding African projects for men who have sex with men (MSM).

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