The president of Gambia has used his address to the United Nations to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – claiming gender and sexual minorities are one of the three ‘biggest threats to human existence’.
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh compared homosexuality to the sins of greed and a lust for power, saying it is ‘more deadly than all natural disasters put together’.
Speaking to world leaders at the United Nations on Friday (27 September), Jammeh said: ‘Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence. It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior.’
‘Homosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers.’
Jammeh’s comments drew worldwide criticism, with Andre Banks, executive director of international gay rights group All Out, calling him ‘paranoid and disturbing’.
In a statement, Bank said: ‘In his list of the world’s greatest threats, the President left one out – intolerance.’
The comments took place following a meeting on Thursday (26 September) where countries spoke up for gay rights, including the United States, France and Argentina.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, told the UN: ‘In too many places around the world, LGBT persons are still punished for simply exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms.’
Gambia has a poor track record on gay rights.
Same-sex sexual activity is still illegal in the country for both males and females, and can be punished by the death penalty.
Gambian president Jammeh has also sparked controversy on his opinions of LGBT in the past, saying gays should be ‘beheaded’.
He also claimed to have found a cure for AIDS, which was nothing more than a mixture of herbs and bananas.