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Content about Gambia

May 13, 2015

'And no white person can do anything about it'

The Gambia's notoriously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to slit the throats of gay men in the small West African nation and said there was nothing the West could do to stop him.

The dictator, who seized power in a bloody coup in 1994, made the inflammatory comments last week during a stop on a nationwide agricultural tour.

VICE News obtained a translation of Jammeh's speech, which was about fostering a healthy atmosphere for the country's youth.

May 11, 2015

As IDAHOT approaches, Ugandan gay rights activist Tony Kitara reflects on the past, present and future of homophobia in his country

I am a gay man from an endemic homophobic nation - Uganda.

In order to 'fit' in society, I had to conceal my sexuality from a very young age. There's a lot of stigma in the general population, often characterised by familial rejection, violence, blackmail, mental torture, physical torture. Therefore, I work for the social justice and liberation of the LGBTI community in my country.

January 13, 2015

He also thinks you can 'cure' AIDS with herbs and bananas, so we're probably fine

Gambia President Yahya Jammeh has claimed the world is doomed because of gay people.

In another speech condemning homosexuality, he has said the US and other countries that support LGBTI people are leading to the 'collapse' of modern society as we know it.

'Let me make it very clear that if they think that they can be homosexuals and want to impose homosexuality on the globe, they are doomed,' Jammeh told soldiers in the capital of Banjul, according to independent news website Gambia Affairs.

December 25, 2014

The West African countrywill lose duty-free access to US markets

The US government has removed Gambia from a trade benefits program for abusing human rights, including a new law that imposes life imprisonment for some gay acts.

The White House did not initially give any reason why Gambia would cease being a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), according to the Associated Press.

December 23, 2014

They could face up to life in prison under a new anti-gay law

Gambian authorities have arrested three men for gay sex, state television reported yesterday.

The men, whose faces were covered, were detained following a security operation and confessed they are gay, according to the broadcast. Their nationalities were not named.

‘We go around in search of suspected individuals and in the course of the investigations we arrested the men and they have confessed that they have engaged in these inhuman acts,’ the report said.

November 26, 2014

The United States Department of State has expressed its dismay that The Gambia has moved forward with a bill that punishes ‘aggravated homosexuality’ with life imprisonment and reports that security forces are actively hunting down LGBTI people

The United States Government has issued its strongest warning to date to the Government of The Gambia over its persecution of LGBTI people, with the Department of State issuing an official warning over the issue.

‘We are dismayed by President Jammeh’s decision to sign into law legislation that further restricts the rights of LGBT individuals and are deeply concerned about the reported arrests and detention of suspected LGBT individuals in The Gambia,’ State Department Bureau of Public Affairs director Jeff Rathke said in a statement on Monday.

November 24, 2014

Eight LGBTI people were arrested and torturted in the country this month

Gambia's president has signed into law a bill that punishes 'aggravated homosexuality' with life imprisonment.

The notoriously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh approved the bill on October 9, according to documents uncovered last week. 

The bill targets 'serial offenders' and people living with HIV but because 'homosexuality' and 'homosexual acts' are not defined in Gambian law, human rights groups fear that LGBTI people will be persecuted arbitrarily under the new enactment.

November 21, 2014

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned the government of Gambia to stop persecuting LGBTIs after it passed laws that would see homosexual ‘serial offenders’ and people with HIV jailed for the rest of their lives

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned Gambia that it is failing its international human rights commitments by its continued persecution of LGBTI people, citing the passage of new laws that even further criminalize sexual minorities.

Homosexuality was already punishable with up to 14 years in prison in Gambia but earlier this year the government passed a vaguely defined law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality.’

November 19, 2014

African country arrests five LGBTI men and three women this month

Amnesty International has demanded Gambia stop its crackdown on homosexuality amid reports that the west African country has arrested and tortured eight LGBTI people since 7 November.

They were told they were under investigation for 'homosexuality' but have not been formally charged, despite constitutional guarantees that require people to be charged within 72 hours of arrest.

September 10, 2014

Activists are calling on the US to review its relationship with the African country

Human rights groups have condemned the passage of a bill in the Gambia that punishes acts of 'aggravated homosexuality' with life imprisonment.

The Gambian National Assembly passed the bill last month, which now awaits approval from outspoken anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh. The bill targets 'serial offenders' and people living with HIV/AIDS.

June 25, 2014

President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to behead LGBTI people and has has branded homosexuals as vermin that should be squashed like mosquitos

The Gambia has revealed a new bill to ban all homosexuals and charities from the country.

Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs Momodou Sabally has said a bill has been submitted to parliament saying it will ‘strengthen’ Gambian culture.

He said it was important to ward off attempts to promote homosexuality, drug abuse and other crimes.

‘Gambia will not import any western culture into the country in exchange for foreign aid,’ Sabally said.

May 13, 2014

President Yahya Jammeh has claimed that Gambians are lying about their sexuality and claiming to be persecuted in his country in order to gain entry to European countries

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has made the extraordinary claim that Gambians are faking being gay in order to claim asylum in European countries and has threatened anyone who does so with death.

‘Some people go to the West and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe,’ Jammeh said on Thursday according to APA.

‘If I catch them I will kill them.’

April 9, 2014

As Rwanda reflects on 20 years since the death of a million of its citizens, a tide of anti-LGBTI hate is engulfing Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, DRC, South Africa and beyond

This week we are marking 20 years since the Rwanda genocide. Twenty years seems like a long time but to the survivors it seems like yesterday. The effects of this tragedy will last forever. Our prayers go to all the victims.

We pay tribute to all those who played a part in stopping the genocide from claiming more lives, we also call upon all the perpetrators of this catastrophic hate crime to be brought to justice.

February 21, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry slams Yahya Jammeh for calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US is 'deeply troubled' by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes.

Kerry labeled Jammeh's remarks 'hateful rhetoric' and called on the international community to condemn them.

'All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation,' Kerry said in a statement.

February 19, 2014

Yahya Jammeh, who said he would behead a LGBT person on sight, has said he will not let the Western threat to cut aid to stop his hunt on the LGBT community

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has called gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes.

On state television to mark the 49th anniversary of Gambia’s independence from Britain yesterday (18 February), he said he would ‘aggressively’ deal with homosexuals and compared the LGBT community to a disease.

His comments come as Uganda and Nigeria are in the process or have enacted harsher homophobic laws.

December 29, 2013

Anti-gay African leader Yahya Jammeh launches fresh attacks on homosexuality and warns Gambians not to expose children to ‘alien cultures’ in annual broadcast

Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, used his annual Christmas message to renew his attacks against homosexuality calling it an ‘evil and strange social cancer’.

He encouraged Gambians to reflect on the ‘pristine values’ and teachings of Christianity at this time of year, having previously warned the UN General Assembly that gay people are a threat to human existence.

November 6, 2013

Omar Kuddus asks if LGBTI activism has become dominated by ‘fashions’ and whether a focus on Russia is distracting from the wider struggle for rights

Whilst the world’s and media’s attention is focused on the plight of Russian LGBTIs, we must not forget homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries.

With the Winter Olympics Sochi in 2014 and Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws firmly in place, not a day goes by without some news about the conditions Russian homosexuals face under the heinous anti-gay propaganda laws.

October 10, 2013

African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group is calling all supporters of the Gambia LGBT community to come and fight against anti-gay laws

Gay rights groups will be holding a protest against the Gambia president who wishes to behead LGBT people in London today (10 October).

African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group will be calling all supporters to the Gambian High Commission after Yahya Jammeh's vitriolic homophobic United Nations speech where he claimed 'homosexuality is one of the biggest threats to human existence.'

October 3, 2013

One of the 20 charged with homosexuality last year attempted to flee Gambia after losing his job and being disowned by his family and move to Senegal

A Gambia gay man who fled the country after being arrested and outed died yesterday evening (2 October).

The man known only as EJ was one of the 20 charged for ‘unlawful carnal knowledge’, otherwise known as homosexuality, in 2012.

Even though the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence, the men will still hounded after their names and pictures were published in the newspapers.

September 29, 2013

Homophobic African leader spoke out against gay rights at the United Nations

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'.

May 17, 2013

Gambia president, Ukraine MP and American legal center named in Human Rights Watch's IDAHO 2013 Hall of Shame

International rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its 2013 Hall of Shame for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) today.

Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was named for his 'persistent' homophobia. He directly addressed LGBT people in parliament in March saying 'if you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders'.

HRW report that 20 people were charged with committing 'unnatural offenses' in the Gambia in 2012, but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

March 30, 2013

Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia, attacked gay people and warned: do not ever visit the country or ‘you will regret why you are born’ 

Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh, ranted against gay people in his speech addressing the country’s parliament.

He called homosexuality ‘satanic’, as well as ‘anti-god, anti-human, and anti-civilization’.

October 26, 2012

UK's Lib-Dem, Tory and Labour Lords and Baronesses stand up for gay rights in short, late afternoon debate

The House of Lords has called for a stronger government stance against the mistreatment of gay men and women in the developing world.

Members of the British parliament's upper house united in a debate led by Conservative peer Lord Lexden yesterday (25 October).

August 3, 2012

While the 18 defendants are relieved the case against them collapsed, they now have become social outcasts and may be in danger of homophobia and persecution

A court in Gambia has dropped charges against 18 men who had been arrested in April and alleged with homosexuality.

The public prosecutor informed the court on Wednesday (1 August) that there was insufficient evidence to continue with the case.

If the men had been convicted of homosexuality they would have violated the country’s strict article 144 of the Gambian criminal code, which stipulates a punishment of up to 14 years imprisonment.