Human Rights Campaign condemn Gambia over new anti-gay law

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The Human Rights Campaign has criticised Gambia over a bill to make “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment.

The law was passed by the National Assembly last month.

According to the legislation, “aggravated homosexuality” applies to “serial offenders”, as well as people living with HIV.

“These draconian laws have no place in the 21st century, and the United States must send a clear message—privately or publicly—to the Gambian leadership that a government must not trample on the rights of its LGBT citizens,” said Ty Cobb, HRC’s director of global engagement.

“When a bill advances that deprives LGBT people of their basic human rights, whether it be in The Gambia, Nigeria, or Brunei, the Obama Administration should conduct a full diplomatic review of the United States’ relationship with those countries.

“The US government cannot move forward with business as usual when LGBT people are threatened with harassment, imprisonment, or even death because of who they are or whom they love.”

Mr Cobb had strong words for Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh.

“By signing this law, President Jammeh would be riding a wave of anti-LGBT laws enacted in Africa.

“He has been one of the most violently vocal opponents of LGBT people—promoting stigmatisation, calling them ‘vermin’ and even calling for their death”.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Gambia with sentences of up to 14 years’ imprisonment.