Gambian National Assembly passes severe anti-LGBT bill

Last month, Gambian lawmakers adopted a severe anti-LGBT bill, imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts.Gambian flag

Although a copy of the bill is not yet available, it appears to be one of the harshest pieces of legislation against LGBT people.

The bill resembles the defeated Ugandan ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’, which also foresaw life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality” for people with previous convictions of homosexuality and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Consensual same-sex activity was already punishable up to 14 years imprisonment under Article 144 of the Gambian Criminal Code.

The bill now goes to President Yahya Jammeh for his approval.

Jammeh is known for his verbal attacks on LGBT people. In a speech last February he referred to homosexual people as “vermin” that should be fought in the same way as malaria-causing mosquitos.

Louis Michel MEP, Member of the EU-ACP Parliamentary Assembly, reacted: “I am appalled by the adoption of this bill which means a further worsening of the human rights situation for LGBT people in the Gambia.”

“The European Union has made its position very clear: the rights of LGBTI people are human rights. From the European Parliament I call upon the EU Member States as well as the European External Action Service to pressure President Jammeh to veto this bill.”

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President-designate of the LGBTI Intergroup added: “The adoption of another anti-LGBT bill is extremely worrying. It endangers the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Gambia.”

“We call on the international community to denounce the tendency of increasing and vehemently dangerous state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.”