Mayor Bill De Blasio Ignores Questions About Uganda's Homophobic Foreign Minister Set To Be President Of UN General Assembly
Mayor Bill de Blasio
The Following is a letter I sent to New York City's CEO and First Citizen, Mayor Bill de Blasio on May, 19 through his Press Secretary and also copied three other members of the press unit. The Mayor has not responded. After de Blasio met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on June 2, I reached out to the mayor through his press department again seeking comment -- I wanted to know if Mayor de Blasio had raised the question of Mr. Sam Kutesa, the incoming new President of the UN General Assembly with Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, and again there was no response. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, to his credit, issued a strong statement in response to Mr. Kutesa's prospective UN post. Earlier, Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Charles Rangel, had also issued statements.
Since my May 19 letter to de Blasio, there have been scores of articles about the Kutesa affair, including in The Guardian, MSNBC, Salon, The Times of London, LGBT Weekly, UPI, Vice News, The Daily Beast, ThinkProgress, Passblue.com, another colum I wrote for the Huffingtonpost, and articles in other media outlets and blogs.
May 19, 2014
Bill de Blasio, Mayor
The City of New York
Dear Mayor De Blasio:
As you know on Feb. 24 Uganda's dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni signed the odious anti-Gay law in defiance of the international community.
The law was widely condemned. Many Ugandan members of the LGBT community have been beaten and some have been killed. At the time Gen. Museveni signed the law he referred to Gays as "disgusting" in an interview on CNN. Since the law was enacted attacks against the LGBT community has reportedly increased 10-fold, The Guardian (U.K.) reports.
Mr. Mayor, a president who is willing to incite violence against the LGBT community, anywhere in the world, should be repudiated by decent people everywhere.
Mr. Mayor, as it turns out, Gen. Museveni may actually get rewarded. On [June 11 not 17, 2014, as I wrote] the representatives of the 193 member states of the United Nations will vote for a President of the General Assembly. The Presidency is a one-year term and the president gets to preside over important meetings and gatherings at the United Nations including the General Assembly in September, which is attended by heads of States, including President Obama.
Mr. Mayor, unless quick action is taken, the foreign affairs minister of Uganda, Mr. Sam Kutesa, will be elected President of the General Assembly, even though the anti-Gay law, by singling out Ugandan citizens who happen to be members of a particular sexual orientation, contravenes the Charter of the United Nations, which calls for equal rights and protections of all human beings.
Mr. Mayor the election of Mr. Kutesa is almost a foregone conclusion. The Presidency rotates among different regions and this year it's Africa's turn. The only other candidate was Cameroon's foreign minister. He has withdrawn his candidacy meaning Mr. Kutesa would be elected by acclaim.
Mr. Mayor this would be tantamount to rewarding tyranny, corruption and state-sanctioned homophobia.
My newspaper has taken some important actions to prevent this travesty. In addition to writing several editorials on The Black Star News, and on on the huffingtonpost.com opposing Mr. Kutesa's candidacy, we have also launched a Petition campaign opposing the candidacy that's now been signed by 606 [It's now 8,027 as of June 4] people as of May 19.
The Petition calls on Secretary of State John Kerry to revoke Mr. Kutesa's U.S. visa or prevent him from being eligible for the post. Africa would still be eligible to fill the post and Cameroon's foreign minister could revive his candidacy.
Mr. Mayor The Black Star News secured strong statements from Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also objecting to Mr. Kutesa's candidacy. We used those statements in articles -- and the links are embedded herein.
New York is a city that welcomes people of all ethnicities, races, nationalities, religions, and sexual status or orientation. New Yorkers must make it clear to Mr. Kutesa and his boss Gen. Museveni that "No not in our backyard." That: we will not allow those who incite violence against people for a particular sexual orientation to be rewarded with such a prestigious position as President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr. Mayor I urge you to consider issuing a strong statement which we would be happy to publish to make it clear that Mr. Kutesa is not welcome in New York.
Mr. Mayor, you could also consider asking Mr. Kerry to revoke Mr. Kutesa's visa and you could also support our campaign on Change.org
We also plan to hold a protest rally at the United Nations to voice our objection against Mr. Kutesa's candidacy and we hope that you or your representative will join us.
Milton Allimadi, Publisher
(The links to the articles mentioned were also provided)