Gambia parade gays on national TV – GRTS News report

The Gambia has paraded 3 men suspected of engaging in homosexual acts as crackdown on the LGBT community continues. The National Intelligence Agency said it will continue its operation even though some members of the LGBT community have ran to other countries. The Gambia say it will prosecute the men and they are likely to be convicted to life in prison. The Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh has signed a law, making “aggravated homosexuality” an offense punishable by a life sentence.

Source: Fatu Radio Network

OJ tells Jammeh: We do not have a gay problem in The Gambia

The PPP leader said it is “serious hypocrisy” for gays to be singled out and punished on moral and religious ground in a country where people are fornicating and worshipping idols which he argued are equally forbidden in Islam
OJ said the secular constitution of The Gambia has provided protection for everyone regardless of belief as long as it does not encroach on the rights of others.

“The life sentence law against the gay people is wrong and it should be repealed immediately. I would rather leave things for God to decide and not me as He is the maker of every human being. I don’t think it is appropriate us to send someone to life imprisonment because we don’t like them or what they do. And I am telling Jammeh and the Gambian people that if we want to implement shari-ah law in this country it is illegal uncalled for and unconstitutional because this country is not an Islamic state but a secular state. Even those who go to the bush to adore their idols have the right to adore them in this country. I don’t see any reason why Yahya Jammeh is making so much noise about gays in The Gambia.

“The gays should have their rights respected as human beings. I am not saying that I support gays. It is not every time that what you support or like will happen. That is the world; every day you see things that you don’t like but who makes you the referee to stand in the place of Allah and punish them? There was no law in this country before Yahya Jammeh that said that gays should be prosecuted and still people lived in peace and I have never heard of any situation in any community in this country before 1994 where gay and straight (normal people) have problems. We are not godlier than the Americans and the British; anybody who says that is lying. With all Jammeh’s condemnation of the European Union all his major road projects are being funded by the EU.

“To start campaigning against gays is promoting homosexulaity in The Gambia which is not a problem in this country and has never been a problem. But people have to know that lesbianism and homosexuality are as old as the human race and nobody in the world can eradicate it. Just like fornication people are doing things that all religions condemn particularly Islam but the requirements and the punishments that the Qur’an says should be meted out to them are never done. There are people here who have wives and kids but have got children outside their marriages and this is punishable by death in Islam. But how many people in this country have been jailed or beaten for having children outside marriage?

“So this whole issue about gays is to divert people’s attention from pressing issues particularly about the serious failures and deficiencies of the Jammeh regime. This is serious hypocrisy because we have seen women here wrestling with men and that is seriously condemned by the Qur’an and why are people not talking about that? We have seen males and females who are not married being gathered in Kanilai which is also barred under shari-ah law. The Gambia is not an Islamic state; we are a secular state where every religion should have the same freedom like any other religion. People should be allowed under the secular constitution to perform respect or be a party to any religion of their will. This has nothing to do with the government. I think we should tell Yahya Jammeh to provide people with food for them to have decent meals because a bag of rice is now not affordable to the majority of the Gambian population” he said.

OJ also alleged that the recent protest held in Banjul against gay rights was a “gathering funded and supported by the government in order to promote the agenda of Yahya Jammeh and not the Gambian people. The Gambian people are not interested in that protest; they are more interested in pressing issues of their lives. The hunger and starvation that has gripped this country since 1994 is historic. Just recently the UNDP has said that over 200000 Gambians are in dire need of food aid and 80000 of whom are suffering from malnutrition and 30000 of the 80000 are children who are suffering from acute malnutrition. That is what should be the agenda of Yahya Jammeh and not marching here to talk about gays.”


Gambia government mounts anti homosexuality campaign – GRTS News report

GOTG got the state controlled media, GRTS to head out on a cross country tour to broadcast anti-gay sentiments. This is regarded as a mechanism to stir the attention of Gambians from the White House statement bluntly criticizing the Jammeh Administration’s human rights record. It is also seen as a method put in place by the GOTG to make a case against the European Union and the United States saying “Western nations want gay and lesbianism marriage in the Gambia as a precondition for aid,” which the EU has denied.

Source: Fatu Radio Network

Stand Up for LGBT Gambians

Today HRC appealed to its members across the United States to take immediate action to help protect more than a dozen imprisoned Gambians, who are being jailed, without access to lawyers or the outside world, for no other reason than they are suspected of being LGBT.

Last week, HRC met with three visiting brave Gambian human rights activists.  The activists, supported by the Robert F. Kennedy Center, spoke of the dire situation in their country.

For more than two decades Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, a ruthless leader who seized power in a military coup in 1994, has systematically violated the human rights of his people with impunity. And even though homosexuality was already illegal in the Gambia, he recently signed into law a draconian measure criminalizing being gay with the possibility of life imprisonment. His targeting of LGBT people is a cynical effort to burnish his anti-Western credentials and gain support for his repressive agenda. “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,” he reportedly said earlier this year.

After the law was passed, Jammeh’s security forces immediately began detaining those they suspected of being LGBT, and torturing and ill-treating them to provide “names” of others.  The authorities are believed to have a list of some 200 more Gambians who have done nothing wrong, but are accused of being LGBT.  They are being hunted down, right now.

There is tremendous concern for the lives and safety of those being sought, and those being held now, with the constant prospect of more arrests and detention in the immediate future. In consultation with member groups of a Washington DC-based coalition who are concerned about international LGBT issues, we have launched a campaign that is intended to put pressure on President Jammeh and his associates, and to shine a light into the jail cells of those currently detained.

We know that President Jammeh has close connections to the United States. In fact, he owns a $3.5 million dollar home in Potomac, Maryland, and visits the US regularly. We also know that he cares about his international image and being part of the international community.  So we believe that calling him out for his actions, and making it difficult for him to move around the world freely, might have an impact.  Therefore, HRC is calling on the U.S. government urgently to restrict entry to the U.S. for him and his associates, and to freeze any assets he may be holding here. It is essential that the U.S. deliver a strong message that human rights violators will not be welcome in the US, and that they must be held accountable for their crimes.  Please join us in this action, and help protect LGBT Gambians.

Take action now.