Senegal FlagBarack Obama has addressed LGBTI rights in Africa at a joint media conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall during a high-profile visit by the US President to a number of African countries.

Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal, and while Obama had not discussed the subject in meetings with Sall, he made a general statement at the conference.

“When it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, et cetera, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there,” Obama said, in a statement reported by Washington Blade.

“But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally.”

Sall responded by saying Senegal was not ready to decriminalise homosexuality, and that social change would take time.

“It is just like the capital punishment. In our country, we have abolished it for many years. In other countries, it is still the order of the day, because the situation in the country requires it. And we do respect the choice of each country,” Sall said.

LGBTI rights in several African countries have been under scrutiny by human rights organisations in recent months, with Nigeria passing severe anti-gay laws earlier this year.

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