US ambassador to Zambia recalled over gay rights row | News | DW | 03.01.2020
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US ambassador to Zambia recalled over gay rights row

Diplomat Daniel Foote said Zambia was risking "degradation of your own citizens rights." The ambassador had angered the Zambian government after criticizing the imprisonment of a same-sex couple.

US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote left the southern African country on Thursday following a row over the diplomat's criticism of the government's repression of same-sex couples.

The government in Lusaka said they asked Washington to recall the ambassador because of his "inappropriate comments," but did not comment further on his departure.

In a statement before his departure, Foote called on Zambia to protect its reputation as a democracy and  "avoid degradation of your own citizens' human, economic, and political rights."

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Zambia. In November, Foote spoke out against a verdict that handed couple Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba prison sentences for being in a same-sex relationship.

"I was personally horrified to read yesterday about the sentencing of two men, who had a consensual relationship, which hurt absolutely no one, to 15 years' imprisonment," Foote wrote at the time.

The diplomat has said he was also targeted after he skipped a World AIDS Day event in protest of the government's conduct.

In 2019, the administration of US President Donald Trump said it would lead a push to end laws criminalizing homosexual relationships around the world.

Zambia is hugely reliant on foreign aid, especially from the US.

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