President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia should not sign a new Criminal Code amendment that would increase the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” to life in prison, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The measure would further add to the climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Gambia.
Several provisions of the law violate international human rights law and amount to persecution on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Sections of the law are similar to the harsh homophobic legislation that was annulled in August 2014 in Uganda.
“President Jammeh should not approve this profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
“Gambia’s National Assembly and the President should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia.”
The National Assembly passed the bill for the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act
2014 on August 25.The president has 30 days from that date to sign the law or return it to the National Assembly for further review.
Consensual sex between same-sex adults is already a crime in Gambia, in violation of international human rights law. However, the proposed amendment introduces even harsher sentences for those suspected of being lesbian, bisexual or gay.
The charge of “aggravated homosexuality” carries a life sentence. The charge is vaguely worded and could enable wide-ranging abuses by the authorities. Among those who could be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” and imprisoned for life are “repeat offenders” and people living with HIV who are suspected to be gay or lesbian.
“This new law will only heap further stigma on people who are already marginalized and living in a climate of deep fear and hate in Gambia,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT Rights Director at Human Rights Watch.
President Jammeh has made numerous public statements attacking LGBTI rights, including at the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, where he declared: “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.” In February, he stated: “We will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes – if not more aggressively.”
In May, President Jammeh threatened Gambians seeking asylum as a result of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, telling the African news service APA: “If I catch them I will kill them.”
In 2012, the authorities arrested 18 men and two women during a raid on a nightclub. They were charged with attempting to commit “unnatural acts” and “conspiracy to commit a felony.” Their pictures and names were displayed in the newspapers. The charges against them were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.
In May, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The resolution condemned “the situation of systematic attacks by state and non-state actors against persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Issued by Amnesty International
I am not president jammeh supporter but very critic to some of his policy like no rule of laws, lack up freedom and etc. But sometimes some freedoms are very bad to our religions, culture, and societies in general and homosexual is one of ungodly and very very bad cancer freedom and we should all rally behind our president Jammeh to sign anti-homosexual bills into law. The Gambia is Islamic and Christianity country and non of this two religion advocate or condone homosexual so why our media own by Gambians living in America and Europe will be become advocate of such ungodly act like homosexual. President Jammeh please please go ahead and anti gay bills into law in our motherland and Allah will be please with you such. Long live for Gambia and may Allah bless the Gambia and its people. No to homosexual in the Gambia.
I will very very happy if president Jammeh sign this anti gay bills into law and execute it. He jammeh shouldn’t fear president Obama or west for signing such bill into law in the Gambia but rather fear only the Almighty Allah. Why president Obama and west want to impose such ungodly so called freedom on us? We are currently battle the most devastated virus called Ebola and we need help to contain and get rid of that ; so we are seeking help for that not president impose slavery again. Every gay or lesbian have biological mothers and fathers so let them know that homosexual acts is just self free thinking ideas freedom in their mind and it is the most dirty and ungodly freedom ever exists in this crazy planet.
Look!!! Amnesty international should understand that this planet has some complexity when it comes all what they are preaching. No doubt about it Amnesty international is a great organization and it protected human race. But for homosexuality, come on ,let them stay away each country to decide and not them. First of all, how many countries is part of Amnesty international and that countries how many people living in those countries? Who created all those populations of people beside Allah? Are we descendants from sky like rain? The answer is absolutely big NO we are not drop down from sky. Instead we all have biological parents including Stephen Cockburn. So why the supporters of homosexuality don’t divorce their spouses like Obama and the rest and marry the same sex. Let’s not fool ourselves about homosexual activities, it is a great cancer and detrimental to our society and Allah’s wrath on those who advocate it and those who engage on such ungodly act . President Yahya Jammeh please please sign this anti gay bills into law in the Gambia..it is detrimental and ungodly to our country Gambia. May Allah bless Gambia. Thank you all.
We always talk about freedom freedom, but should we allowed freedom to affect our culture and religion, even the Bible don’t accept homosexuality no the Qur’an, and because of western life and culture we should accept this UN decent act in our country.let us not forget were we come from and how we were brought up.any law that should band them will be good i don’t want the killing but any other punishment is good for them, let us teach our children something good not indecent life style.