Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, under U.S. sanctions for more than a decade for rampant human rights abuses, condemned homosexuality during a speech to the U.N. in New York on Monday.
"We are not gays" he declared, prompting chuckles and scattered applause among the audience.
Mugabe — who last year referred to gay relationships as "inhuman" — framed his opposition to gay rights as a rejection of Western imperialism, Business Insider reported
"We reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs," he said. "We reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time."
Mugabe's comments echoed his past criticisms of President Barack Obama, who supports the de-criminalization of homosexuality around the world.
"We have this American president, Obama, born of an African father, who is saying we will not give you aid if you don’t embrace homosexuality," Mugabe said in July 2013. "We ask, was he born out of homosexuality? We need continuity in our race, and that comes from the woman, and no to homosexuality. John and John, no; Maria and Maria, no."
Mugabe, 91, has elsewhere referred to gay people as "worse than pigs and dogs," and suggested Obama and others who support gay rights must be gay themselves.
According to Vox.com
, "As gay rights improve in much of the world, they're getting worse in a handful of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A 2013 Amnesty International report detailed worsening and 'dangerous' homophobia across much of the continent. This is not uniform to the continent, of course, and some countries such as South Africa have positive and improving LGBT rights situations."
Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe since 1980, made headlines earlier this year when he tripped and fell in public, and then tried to censor photos and press coverage of it.
President George W. Bush slapped Mugabe and 76 other officials of Zimbabwe with economic sanctions, asset freezes, and travel bans in 2003.
''Over the course of more than two years, the government of Zimbabwe has systematically undermined that nation's democratic institutions, employing violence, intimidation and repressive means including legislation to stifle opposition to its rule,'' Bush said in announcing his executive order, The New York Times reported
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