01/23/2014 04:08 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Gay Rights Activists At Davos LGBT Panel: 'We Still Have A Huge Struggle'

CNN and Time Magazine's Fareed Zakaria moderated a panel on LGBT rights sponsored by The Huffington Post and Microsoft to kick off the second day of the 2014 Davos Annual Meeting.

Speakers on the panel included J-FLAG Executive Director Dane Lewis, Russian and American journalist Masha Gessen, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, Elliott Management Corporation founder Paul Singer, Third Point founder Dan Loeb and Alice Nkom, a lawyer and LGBT activist from Cameroon.

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Fareed Zakaria speaks with Alice Nkom, a lawyer and LGBT activist from Cameroon; journalist Masha Gessen; and J-FLAG Executive Director Dane Lewis. (Photo: HuffPost Live)

Fareed Zakaria speaks with panel members Elliott Management Corporation founder Paul Singer, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Third Point founder Dan Loeb. (Photo: HuffPost Live)

"The whole purpose of this morning is to give you a sense of what's going on around the world with this issue," Zakaria said at the start of the panel.

"We still have a huge struggle," Lewis said.

Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that the panel came at a relevant time, after several anti-gay moves have made headlines around the world. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is attending Davos, signed an anti-gay bill into law earlier this month, and India's Supreme Court recently upheld a law that criminalizes homosexual acts.

Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) were present at the Thursday morning panel. Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he wants the U.S. to reevaluate foreign aid to countries that restrict LGBT rights.

"I think that we have to explore our foreign policy with countries that have these horrible laws," he said. "As one who handles the foreign aid in our Senate, this is going to become increasingly on my radar of how we look at foreign aid in countries that violate human rights this way."

This post has been updated with more information on Leahy.

Watch a video of the panel above, and see updates from Davos below:



01/25/2014 10:07 AM EST

Bill Gates Discusses The Hyper-Connectivity Concern

01/25/2014 10:06 AM EST

Polman's View On Work/Life Balance

"We are very fortunate to do what we like to do... so I get a lot of energy out of what I do," Polman said.

"I don't personally believe in work/life balance," Polman said, adding that he hopes to have a happy life balance that includes his work.

"We have to watch what we do, I like to run so I do that every day, and increasingly watch what you eat and maintain your health a little bit," Polman said.

01/25/2014 10:00 AM EST

'We Have A Moral Obligation'

"I think we have a moral obligation to use what is given to us for the benefit of all," Polman said.

"We have no rights to exclude people," Polman said.

01/25/2014 9:59 AM EST

Statue Of Responsibility

"I always say when they built the Statue of Liberty on the east coast of the United States, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast," Polman said.

01/25/2014 9:56 AM EST

'We Really Need To Move Into Reaction Mode'

"I think people are starting to discover that we really need to move into reaction mode," Polman said.

Polman said the political process has become "incredibly difficult" and is riddled with "poor agreements."

"There is some progress but frankly, not fast enough, and the business community can not wait," Polman said.

"There is more of an urge from responsible business... to drive to action," Polman added.

01/25/2014 9:55 AM EST

'There Is An Enormous Demand On Food'

"Obviously as the population grows with the changing dietary habits, there is an enormous demand on food," Polman said.

Polman said he's worked to find sustainable solutions to food production.

01/25/2014 9:52 AM EST

'There's An Enormous Pressure On The CEO Of Today'

Arianna sat down with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, on HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday to talk about pressure in business.

"There's a lot of pressure on the short-term," Polman said.

"There's an enormous pressure on the CEO of today," Polman added.

Polman said "the real purpose of business is to serve society," not to cater to the shareholder, but often the latter is what CEOs are focused on because of pressure.

01/25/2014 9:22 AM EST

Al Gore: 'We Need To Put A Price On Denial In Politics'

01/25/2014 8:49 AM EST

Brad Smith On Unplugging

Smith said he unplugs by getting outside and learning new things by doing things like reading.

"To me, that's a real joy," Smith said.

01/25/2014 8:45 AM EST

Relationship Between Business And Government

Smith said the relationship between business and government has a few different dimensions that usually exist at the same time.

"The government defines the laws and we comply with them," Smith said. "There may be times we think the government goes too far and we challenge them... there are times when we work together. There are times when the government is our customer."