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Gov’t Says It Has No Plans to Review LGBT Laws

The Gambia government has assured the populace that it has no plans to review the laws criminalizing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender practice in the country.

The government’s reaction came on Tuesday to quell the heated-controversial debate on the LGBT situation in the country. The public outcry came following the European Union’s call for protection of right defenders of LGBT community in the country. 

The National Human Rights Commission’s annual report submitted to the national assembly recently delving into the situation of the LGBT practice has also fanned the debate. However, the Commission denied that it’s nowhere in its report where it promotes homosexuality in the country.

       Emmanuel Daniel Joof, Chairman National Human Rights Commission

Since then, religious leaders, political parties and the individual Gambians have taken to various media platforms including social media to warn the government against any effort to decriminalize the law. As per the Criminal Code amended in 2014, any convicted person for engaging in LGBT acts will be jailed for life.

 On Tuesday, the spokesperson of the government says the country did not sign any deal to decriminalize the law against homosexuality. 

“In the wake of the simmering controversy surrounding gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT)in The Gambia, The Government of President Adama Barrow wants to make it absolutely clear that neither President Barrow himself nor any member of his government, its envoy, agent or representative has ever signed, consented to, participated in or even pretended to support any deal, package, programme or agenda for the promotion of LGBT rights as is being falsely reported on news and various social media platforms,” a statement signed by Ebrima Sankareh stated.

       Ebrima Sankareh

He said the government at no time ever been faced with the option to accept donor funds as bargaining chips or a conditionality for the relaxation of LGBT rights.

“Therefore, it is not only baffling but worrisome to hear some opposition and religious leaders engage in crude speculations or indulge in insinuations and wild innuendoes that cannot be substantiated. 

“Since assuming office in 2017, President Adama Barrow has been working tirelessly to strengthening our democracy, upholding the rule of law and promoting the values of, press freedom, constitutional due process and the independence of the judiciary as evident in the most recent high-profile cases,” Sankareh said.

He refuted the claim that the Barrow government was corrupted, compromised or preconditioned to accept European funds to accommodate LGBT rights in our laws. 

“This is false political propaganda orchestrated to score cheap political points. Accordingly, The Gambia Government continues to be guided by the values and norms of its people, existing laws and has no plans to either decriminalize or even entertain a review of laws on homosexuality.

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