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Zambia: First Lady calls for end to discrimination based on sexual orientation

Christine Kaseba-Sata says silence about MSM issues should be broken

Zambia's First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, has called for an end to discrimination against sexual minorities in her country. Credit: lusakatimes.com

In what is being described as "potentially game-changing," Zambia's First Lady told a UNAIDS reception held in the capital Lusaka that silence about issues pertaining to men who have sex with men (MSM) should be broken and called for an end to discrimination against sexual minorities, news site AllAfrica reports

The report, which also noted Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata's assurances that she and the president, Michael Chilufya Sata, support the work of sexual- and reproductive-health workers, said the First Lady's statement is significant in light of her political and professional status in the African country and abroad. Kaseba-Sata is a well-known specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, an established physician and lecturer, a World Health Organization goodwill ambassador and the chair of the Forum of African First Ladies, AllAfrica says.

Her remarks come amidst the ongoing saga of activist Paul Kasonkomona, who is facing trial for speaking out about gay rights on television. He is charged with idle and disorderly conduct for soliciting for immoral purposes. In addition, the case of two men charged with committing offences “against the order of nature” is also before the courts.

A recent Amnesty International report, entitled “Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of Same-Sex Conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa,” notes that there was a ramping-up of efforts to further criminalize queer people in the region in the last 10 years by targeting behaviour or imposing steeper penalties and broadening the scope of existing laws.