Daniel Foote, the U.S. ambassador to Zambia, has been withdrawn after criticizing the country for imprisoning a gay couple for having sex.
Voice of America reports: “A State Department spokesperson said Ambassador Daniel Foote’s job in Zambia is ‘no longer tenable’ because Zambian President Edgar Lungu said he no longer wants to work with Foote.”
Said the spokesperson: “Despite this action, the United States remains committed to our partnership with the Zambian people. [The U.S.] firmly opposes abuses against LGBTI persons. Governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled.”
Foote blasted a high court ruling last month that sentenced the couple to 15 years in prison for homosexuality: “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. Decisions like this oppressive sentencing do untold damage to Zambia’s international reputation by demonstrating that human rights in Zambia” are “not a universal guarantee.”