Saturday, February 22, 2014

EU deplores 'inflammatory statement' on homosexuality

On the eve of The Gambia's 49th independence anniversary, Jammeh vowed to fight gays the same way as malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively (Photo Credit: MSJoof/TNBES/Nov2012)

The EU has said the "High Representative deplores the inflammatory statement on homosexuality by the President of The Gambia.”

A spokesperson for EU’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton, said the “European Union is opposed to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.”

President Jammeh said “homosexuality will never be tolerated and in fact will attract the ultimate penalty, since it is intended to bring vermin called homosexuals or gays, the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.”

Clear signal 

“Let me also make it very clear that Gambia will not spare any homosexual and therefore no Diplomatic immunity will be respected for any Diplomat who is found guilty or accused of being a homosexual. We will not accept diplomats who are homosexuals,” he added. 

The EU indicated “It is firmly committed to fundamental human rights and the rule of law in respect of those rights, including freedom of association, conscience and speech and the equality of persons. It supports the respect of human rights in all countries of the world.” 

“The High Representative also recalls the importance of all States respecting the provisions of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity," the EU said on Friday, February 21.

Deeply troubled 

The United States of America has said it is “deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National [Independence] Day speech on February 18.” 

“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,” a Wednesday statement by US Department of State stated.

The US has called on the Government of The Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians.

It also said it “encourage the international community to send a ‘clear signal’ that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable.”

“Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

No aid for gay rights

At a time when powerful countries like the US and the UK threaten to cut aid to countries that legislates anti-gay laws, Jammeh said The Gambia will to accept aid that is tied to accepting gay rights.

“We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or L.G.B.T. as they are now baptized by powers that promote them,” Jammeh declared. 

“As far as I am concerned, L. G.B.T. can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis, all of which are detrimental to human existence,” he said.

In an address to the UN general assembly on September 27, 2013, Mr Jammeh said “homosexuality” is one of “three biggest threats to human existence.”

Written by Modou S. Joof

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