Amnesty urges Gambian President to reject anti-gay law

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Amnesty International has criticised a Gambian law which would make “aggravated homosexuality” publishable by life imprisonment, saying the country’s president should reject it.

The law was passed by the National Assembly last month, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” It is yet to be signed by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa said: “President Jammeh should not approve this profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law.

“Gambia’s National Assembly and the President should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia.”

The next step for the bill, which shares a lot of language with a similar law introduced in Uganda earlier this year, is to be signed into law by President Yahya Jammeh, who in February referred to gay people as “vermin”, saying they should be dealt with in the same way as mosquitoes which “cause” malaria.

He has 30 days from 25 August, when the bill was passed by the country’s Assembly.

Same-sex activity in the country is already punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.