UN Security Council and UN General Assembly Now Led by Two Countries Condemned Strongly by UN for Passing Strict Anti-Gay Laws, Threatening Human Rights, With Elections of Kutesa and Churkin

Russia took over the chairmanship of the UN Security Council (UNSC) June 1, and Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa took over the Presidency of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) June 11. One of these nations is currently at the top of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly to Be Led by Russia and Uganda (2)world headlines for aggression in Ukraine, and both have recently made headlines for passing strict anti-gay legislation–in contravention of and threatening the guarantees of the UN Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to top UN representatives.

When Russia passed anti-gay laws before the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the UN took several measures to condemn the laws. “The United Nations stands strongly behind our own ‘free and equal’ campaign,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in condemning Russia’s legislation. “Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century.”

“As I have been repeatedly and consistently stating in the spirit and framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Ki-Moon continued, “that everybody is born free and equal and everybody has a right to be equal, regardless of age, and sex, and sexual orientation, and gender identity. This is a fundamental principle of human rights.”

When Uganda signed into law its strict Anti-Homosexuality Act in February–for which some Ugandan legislators were proposing the death penalty, although the proposal was dropped in favor of life in prison–the UN spoke out against the legislation, saying it violates basic human rights and endangers homosexuals and others.

“This law will institutionalize discrimination and is likely to encourage harassment and violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation,” stated UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. “It is formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone, not just LGBT people.”

Pillay and Ki-Moon voiced deep human rights concerns. “This law violates a host of fundamental human rights,” continued Pillay, “including the right to freedom from discrimination, to privacy, freedom of association, peaceful assembly, opinion and expression and equality before the law – all of which are enshrined in Uganda’s own Constitution and in the international treaties it has ratified.”

The June agenda for the UNSC will include a meeting in Afghanistan and meetings on African issues–particularly on Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, the Sahara-Sahel, Sudan and South Sudan.

UNThe Middle East is also on the agenda for the UNSC, particularly Yemen, Libya and Syria. Other matters upcoming include armed drones and new peacekeeping missions where force may be mandated.

No talks on Ukraine have been scheduled. Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, however, that Russia was “ready for any surprises here,” noting that every UNSC member can call a meeting on any situation which poses an internatioal threat to peace and security.

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the UNSC, along with the US, China, Great Britain and France. There are 10 non-permanent members.

The UNSC makes decisions for the UN regarding peace and international security, and all UN members are supposed to heed UNSC decisions, in accordance with the UN Charter.

Russia will hand over the chairmanship of the UNSC to Rwanda on July 1.

Uganda to Lead United Nations General Assembly

The UNGA is composed of 193 member nations. The UNGA is the organ of the UN wherein all members have equal representation. The UNGA oversees the UN budget, receives UN reports and makes recommendations, and appoints non-permanent members to the UNSC.

The Presidency of the UNGA is a rotating one-year position, and is a largely ceremonial post.

The election of Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa to the Presidency has drawn some criticism. Kutesa has a history of corruption and has been censured for corruption by the Ugandan Parliament. The government to which Kutesa belongs is also a cause for the criticism. The Ugandan government, headed for 28 years by Yoweri Museveni, has been accused and found guilty of international war crimes by international courts.

By Day Blakely Donaldson