News (USA)

Obama administration: Gambia president’s anti-gay threats ‘unconscionable’

Susan Rice
Susan Rice

Washington Blade reports:

Following calls from LGBT advocates urging her to speak out, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice condemned on Saturday the president of Gambia’s pledge to slit the throats of gay men in his country as “unconscionable.”

“We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia,” Rice said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.”

Rice made the remarks in a statement one day before the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, saying the remarks from Gambia President Yahya Jammeh underscore the need for continued efforts “to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love.”

Jammeh’s remarks came earlier this month while touring the country’s North Bank Region, according to a translation provided to VICE News.

If you do it (in the Gambia) 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,” he said in the Wolof language to a crowd in the town of Farafeni.

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Jammeh is regularly criticized for abuses, including disappearances and executions. He is one of Africa’s most vocal anti-gay leaders and has previously threatened to behead sexual minorities found in his country.

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