In April 2011, Gabon was cited for “ritualistic killings,” “use of excessive force by police,” and “restrictions on privacy and press,” by the Department of State.
Jack Blum, a consultant to the United Nations, says the invitation sends a bad message.
White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the President’s decision to invite the African leader, even though he has a “less than sterling” record.
“Gabon has voted in ways that we consider very helpful on issues like Cote d’Ivoire, Libya and Iran,” Carney said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “It has been an important ally in our efforts in those countries through the United Nations.”