London protest planned against Gambian anti-gay law

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

A protest has been planned for Wednesday against a new Gambian law which would make “aggravated homosexuality” publishable by life imprisonment.

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.

Wednesday’s protest take place at the Gambian embassy on Ledbury Road in London, from 4.30-6pm.

“President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia is likely to sign the bill into law. However, we hope he might have a last minute change of heart and return it to the National Assembly for amendment to strike out the anti-gay clauses,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“This bill is a violation of the Gambian constitution, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and this year’s resolution of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“We urge the Gambian President to uphold his country’s constitution and its international treaty obligations by refusing to sign this Bill into law,” said Mr Tatchell.

The bill has been condemned by various human rights groups including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign.

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, so a signature is expected any day.

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