The Gambia, a country in West Africa, has a subpar human rights record. In fact, the human rights record is so poor that the European Union cut about €13 million of humanitarian aid from the country. The freeze was in response to a law President Jammeh signed on gay and lesbian people. Being gay is illegal in Gambia and punished with a maximum sentence of 14 years. The new law increases the sentence to life in prison for gay and lesbians with repeated offences, or who are HIV-positive. The foreign aid cut has not swayed President Jammeh’s attitude towards gays.
A Blunt Threat
While he was on an agricultural tour in the country, Jammeh made a stop in the town of Farafeni, and in a public speech, the president boldly stated “If you do it [i.e. if you are gay], I will slit your throat. If you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.” The reference to white people was probably against the European Union’s freeze against the country. This law continues a trend in the president’s behavior against gay men and women. He has previously called them “vermins” and made a promise to fight them “like malaria-causing mosquitoes.” He has also advised them to flee the country, or else he would chop their heads off.