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Human rights, LGBT activists want gay rights on Africa summit agenda

BY DAVID CRARY
AP NATIONAL WRITER

Human rights and gay rights activists on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week's summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, and Human Rights First, which advocates aggressive U.S. stances on human rights issues abroad, issued a statement depicting the summit as a "once-in-a-generation moment" to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

According to the two groups, 37 African countries with more than 800 million residents have laws criminalizing LGBT relationships, and leaders of 32 of those countries have been invited to the Aug. 4-6 summit.

Among the invitees are Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, who signed harsh anti-gay laws earlier this year.

In response to Uganda's law — which strengthens penalties for gay sex and makes life sentences possible for violators — the U.S. imposed visa bans on some Ugandan officials and halted or redirected funding from institutions involved in human rights abuses.

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