Target: Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia
Goal: Abolish a new law that would make homosexuality a legally punishable offense
A new criminal code in Gambia’s amendment seeks to increase the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” from a few years to life in prison. The proposed measure further adds to the hostility of Gambia’s social climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
Several sections of the anti-homosexuality law are already in violation of international human rights law, but this modification proves to be the harshest act against the fight for LGBT rights and protection. Individuals “perceived” to be LGBT or having a different gender identity than their biological sex are susceptible to cruel persecution at the hands of Gambian authorities.
Consensual sex between same-sex adults is already a crime in Gambia, and in violation of international human rights law. The proposed amendment goes one step further in fueling stigma against people who are already marginalized and living in deep fear. Further, the amendment, which is vaguely worded and easy to abuse, also unlawfully attacks people living with HIV, who are often suspected of being gay or lesbian.
Although the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has fought tirelessly to protect LGBT people from further human rights violations, violence, and discrimination, President Yahya Jammeh’s statements at the 2013 United Nations General Assembly is a jarring reminder of his continued vigilance in the fight against LGBT equality. At the conference President Jammeh declared, “We [African authorities] will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquito — if not more aggressively.”
The safety and well-being of Gambia’s LGBT community is uncertain as Gambia’s National Assembly moves forward with the passing of this bill. Sign the petition to urge President Jammeh to protect the rights of LGBT individuals living in Gambia.
Dear President Jammeh,
I am shocked, appalled and disheartened at your recent law, which punishes LGBT people based on prejudice and pure ignorance. This anti-gay law heightens the already hostile social climate and fuels fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Gambia. Regardless of your personal convictions, this proposed amendment is in direct violation of international human rights law. With that being said, this law should be amended immediately.
As an LGBT rights supporter and advocate, I urge you to consider the harsh consequences your hateful actions would inflict upon your citizens. No one deserves to treated so callously, simply because of their sexual orientation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Arashdeep via morguefile