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Cameron calls for Africa gay rights

Britain's controversial determination to maintain its commitment to foreign aid means it can do more to promote gay rights in Africa, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Launching a charter at Downing Street to tackle homophobia in sport, Mr Cameron said that because Britain was meeting its promises to the poorest people in the world, it gave it moral authority to talk to African leaders about the issue.

He told sports chiefs and stars that homophobia in sport, homophobic bullying in schools and appalling treatment of gay people in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa, were areas where improvement was needed. He said the Government had already taken steps to move the agenda of gay equality forward, but more needed to be done.

Mr Cameron said: "I think it's great that here in No 10 we have got representatives of the governing bodies of almost every single sport you can think of, signing the charter saying it's time to put an end to homophobia.

"There are a huge number of sports personalities who have not felt able to come out. We should be doing far more to make them comfortable to do that."

The issue of homophobic bullying in schools was linked to homophobia in sport, he said. "Young people look to role models, and until we have enough positive role models, it won't change."

He added: "While we are making progress, gay people can be appallingly treated in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa.

"We have had to make lots of cuts, but we have made the difficult but I believe right decision to maintain our commitment to make 0.7% of our national income go to the poorest countries by 2013.

"Everyone is breaking their promises, the Italians, but we are meeting our promises to the poorest people in the world. It gives us moral authority in the way we speak to world leaders and lets us say what we expect of them. I am convinced we can do more. We've got, because of our aid commitment, authority to talk to African leaders about this issue."

The charter commits signatories to working to rid sport of homophobic and transphobic abuse on the stands and on the field and challenging discrimination so that everyone can take part in and enjoy sport.

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