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Kerry denounces Gambia president’s remarks that LGBT people are ‘vermin’

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday denounced remarks by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh that LGBTQ people are “vermin” and that Gambia’s government would tackle them in “the same way it fights malaria-causing mosquitoes.”

John Kerry

John Kerry

“The United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National Day speech on February 18,” said Kerry, in a statement.

“All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. We call on the Government of The Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians, and we encourage the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable,” said Kerry.

“Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love,” he added.

Jammeh made his remarks in a televised appearance marking Gambia’s 49 years of independence from British rule.

“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,” said Jammeh. “We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptized by the powers that promote them.”

Last year, in an address to the United Nations, Jammeh said homosexuality was one of the three “biggest threats to human existence.”

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