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BRICS leaders condemn Orlando shooting
June 13, 2016, 5:19 am

A man cries during a vigil to mourn the victims of the mass shooting at a park in Orlando, the United States, on June 12, 2016 [Xinhua]

A man cries during a vigil to mourn the victims of the mass shooting at a park in Orlando, the United States, on June 12, 2016 [Xinhua]

BRICS leaders have reacted to the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 50 people and injured at least 53 more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a “barbaric crime”.

Putin said “the Russian people share the pain and grief of those who lost family and loved ones as a result of this barbaric crime, and wished a speedy recovery to those injured” in a condolence message to his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Urging stricter gun control in the US, Obama said the fact that the attacker was armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle illustrated “how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon, that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship or a movie theatre or in a night club”.

The perpetrator of the deadliest mass shooting in US history has been identified by security officials as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen who was the son of Afghan immigrants.

Afghanistan’s President was quick to react to the massacre, calling it a “cowardly act of terror”.

Mateen  carried an AR-15 style assault rifle and a handgun when he killed 50 people and wounded 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday.

In a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Beijing on Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent condolences to the families of those attacked in Orlando.

China is “opposed to violence and terrorism”, Li said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to condemn the murders.

In the wake of the Orlando shootings, several Democratic politicians said the US Congress should renew a ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines that was in place between 1994 and 2004.

“It reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets,” said presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Brazil’s Foreign Ministry expressed “profound dismay and indignation” at the attack.

“While conveying its sympathy to the families of the victims, the people and the US Government, the Brazilian Government reaffirms its firmest rejection to any act of terrorism. No motivation, no argument justifies the use of similar murderous barbarism,” said a statement pasted on the Brazilian Foreign Ministry website.

The Florida unit of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida) also condemned the “monstrous” killings.

“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” CAIR-Florida’s Orlando Regional Coordinator Rasha Mubarak said in a statement.

“The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

Same sex marriage is now legal in the entire US after a Supreme Court ruling in July last year striking down state marriage bans.

The US is one of the few bright spots in the world for the global campaign for the rights of sexual minorities.

Fewer than 1 billion of the world’s population live in countries where same-sex marriage or civil unions are recognised, compared to almost 2.8 billion living in countries which criminalise gay people and impose severe punishments on homosexuality, such as imprisonment, lashings and even death sentences.

The issues of LGBT rights and participation in events at the United Nations have long been contentious. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has advocated for LGBT equality but faced opposition from India, Russia and China.

India is one of 75 countries around the world that outlaws homosexuality.

Russia and China have not criminalised gay sex but according to a PEW research report, “The Global Divide on Homosexuality,” these are societies deeply intolerant of homosexuality.

The South African government on Monday said the Orlando attack “was targeted at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, shows extreme levels of intolerance”.

“South Africa fully recognises the rights of the LGBTI community and condemns in the strongest possible terms any violent attack targeted at the community,” a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry website said.


TBP and Agencies

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