Secretary-General’s Remarks to the Press Following his Meeting with Zambian President Michael Sata
Lusaka, Zambia, 25 February 2012
SG: Good afternoon, it is a great honor for me to visit Zambia as the Secretary-General of United Nations, first Secretary-General of the United Nations. I have had a very good meeting with President Sata after our bilateral meeting in Addis Ababa last month. I am extremely impressed by all democratic foundations achieved here and also Millennium Development Goals [making] a good progress here. We have discussed the way how United Nations can work together with the Zambian government in realizing the Millennium Development Goals and in a broader sense I have invited President Sata to participate himself in the Rio+20 Summit meeting. This Rio+20 Summit meeting will provide a very important opportunity for world leaders to discuss and to realize a sustainable development which will be the top priority of international community and United Nations at this time, dealing with climate change, water scarcity, food crisis, energy shortages, gender empowerment, global health issues. I am very impressed that Zambia has been making good progress in Millennium Development Goals, primary education, reducing mortality from HIV and maternal mortalities, but it is evident that Zambia needs to do more. There are many developing countries working very hard to promote these Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Anyway, again I am deeply honored to visit this country and I have expressed my strong commendation for the democratic principles and foundations that are being established under President Sata, particularly through the peaceful transform of power in September last year. It has sent strong message not only to Africa but through out the world. I sincerely hope that under the leadership of President Sata, Zambia will make great progress in peace and security, development and human rights. Thank you.
Q: Your Excellency, countries in many parts of Africa including Zambia are uneasy about recognizing gay rights. What is your position in that respect?
SG: Human beings are born with equal rights regardless of sex or age, ethnicities. Then particularly the sexual orientation should not give any reason to discriminate [against] any people. This is one of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have been urging many country’s world leaders where the [people of those] countries with different sexual orientation have been discriminated, even punished, even criminalized. This is not acceptable and I know that President Sata has form principled position in promoting and protecting human rights of everybody regardless of their sexual orientation.
Q: Your Excellency, what about happenings in Senegal, what do you have to say?
SG: We are closely watching the development of the situation. I have been concerned about what is happening there, protests and demonstrations against all this. I sincerely hope that this election will be held peacefully, in a credible and open and transparent manner so that the will of the people will be fully respected.
Off-the-Cuff on 25 February 2012