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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘It’s hypocritical to accept Gambia into Commonwealth with anti-gay laws’

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UK-based African LGBTQ rights advocate Edwin Sesange has expressed concern over the readmission of The Gambia into the Commonwealth of Nations without the country removing what he described as “anti-LGBTQ laws” that former president Jammeh introduced into the Constitution.
Edwin, who has been a vocal activist of the LGBTQ in Africa and the UK, said while many people hailed the Gambia’s return to Commonwealth, there’s a downside to it.

“This is good news for the people of The Gambia and Commonwealth, especially after the departure of one of the most despotic and anti-LGBTI leaders in the world Mr Yahya Jammeh. There is so much The Gambia can offer to the rest of the Commonwealth members at the same time benefit from the Commonwealth.
“However this makes the number of countries that criminalise homosexuality in the Commonwealth to increase from 36 to 37. The Commonwealth charter 2013 calls for non-discrimination against people, including LGBTI people. Therefore it is hypocritical to admit countries which discriminate against LGBTI people.

Former president Jammeh was infamous for his threats against homosexuals, describing them as vermins and that he would slit their throats.
His open campaign against gays resulted in a law under which “aggravated homosexuality” can lead to life imprisonment.

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Edwin urged the Barrow-led government to get rid of these laws.
“I call upon the new leadership of The Gambia to get rid of the colonial sodomy laws handed down by Britain and make clear commitments to non-discrimination, respecting and protecting all Gambians, including LGBTI people,” he said.

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