Zimbabwe leader Mugabe tells UN: 'We are not gays!'

91-year-old attacks the West over homosexuality

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe: 'We Are Not Gays'

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has told the United Nations that he does not support efforts by the West to decriminalise homosexuality.

During his speech in front of the General Assembly on Monday evening, the 91-year-old leader said: "We are not gays!"

Mr Mugabe made the comment as he criticised Western nations' "double standards" and attempts to "prescribe 'new rights' that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs."

Zimbabwe has one of the worst LGBT rights records on the African continent, with the country's leader frequently demonising homosexuality. In 2013 he described homosexuals as "worse than pigs, goats and birds."

Illegal in Zimbabwe

In his speech this week, The Independent reports, he claimed the UN Human Rights charter did not give states "the right to some to sit in judgement over others".

"In that regard, we reject the politicisation of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimise those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time," he said.

"We equally reject attempts to prescribe 'new rights' that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs. We are not gays! Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification, and double-standards will not."

Mr Mugabe's remarks follow decades of state-sanction persecution against homosexuality, with male same-sex sexual activity remaining illegal within Zimbabwe. Individuals can be punished with imprisonment and fines.

A Pew survey in 2013 found the African continent - with the exception of South Africa - overwhelmingly intolerant of gay men and women.

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