Gays and lesbians being rounded up in The Gambia

The dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh has mounted a “clean-up operation” in the tourist area by arresting Gambians identified as gays and lesbians. Men dressed in black, identified as members of Jammeh’s notorious members of his security forces, have been going around hotels and bars in the tourism development areas along the Gambian coast arresting those they ‘suspect’ of being gay.

It is being reported that members of the security have been soliciting the assistance of those requesting the tourism areas to help identify ‘suspected’ gays and lesbians resulting in the arrest of, at least, three known individuals.

Among those arrested are Morr Sowe, Alieu Sarr and Kemo Sanyang (photo unavailable) are known to have been in the custody of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for simply being identified as gay. Their rights are being violated because of who they are accused of being.

Alieu SarrAlieu Sarr

Morr SoweMorr Sowe

Human rights is a universal concept that must be applied across the board if it is to have any meaning in it’s application and enforcement. We cannot apply it selectively. Gays and lesbians are human beings and created by the same Creator. To say that the gay community is not worthy of legal protection exposes them to the dangers of harassment and illegal detention. In fact those endorsing the regime’s hatred for and harassment of gays and lesbians are equally culpable in the violation of the human rights of these Gambian citizens.

The harassment of the gay community has resulted in many fleeing to neighboring Senegal where they feel safe. This harassment and illegal detention of innocent Gambians by the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh must stop. Morr Sowe, Alieu Sarr and Kemo Sanyang must be released from detention or charged. They cannot be held indefinitely without charge in violation of their constitutional and human rights. We cannot be selective in how the law is applied.


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