John M. Becker

Gambia: We'd Rather Persecute Gays Than Accept Aid

Filed By John M. Becker | December 01, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: European Union, foreign aid, Gambia, jail the gays, United States

map_gambia.gifOfficials in the impoverished west African nation of Gambia are rebuffing criticism from the United States and the European Union about the country's new "jail the gays" law, which toughens the country's already draconian anti-gay laws and punishes so-called "aggravated homosexuality" with life in prison.

The AP reports that the U.S. and E.U., which both provide aid to Gambia, have used their position to advance and advocate for respect for LGBT rights. But Gambia's government is having none of it:

The Gambian government will not allow acceptance of gay people to be a pre-condition for receiving aid "no matter how much aid is involved," Foreign Minister Bala Garba Jahumpa said in a nationally televised addressed late Saturday.

"We are no longer going to entertain any dialogue on the issue with the European Union or any other foreign power," he said.

Voice of America news puts the minister's remarks in context:

The crackdown comes as the European Union is due to decide in December whether to release 150 million euros ($186 million) worth of development aid to Gambia, a matter that has been up for debate because of its poor human rights record.

When a government is so committed to homophobia that it's willing to throw starving people under the bus rather than ease up on the gay-bashing, I'd say its priorities are a little out of whack, wouldn't you?

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