December 7, 2014 – (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s National Security Council (NSC) has voiced concern over Gambia’s moves to block access to top United Nations human rights investigators and enact tough new legislation against homosexuality.
Gambia’s foreign minister last week vowed to sever dialogue with the European Union after the bloc, an important donor to the West African nation, raised similar criticisms.
“We remain concerned about ongoing reports of forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, including of journalists, human rights advocates, and civil servants,” NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said.
In the statement, released on Thursday and read on Gambian state-owned radio and television, the NSC said it was also disappointed in the Gambian government’s failure to investigate the disappearance of two U.S. citizens missing since June 2013.
Though the statement did not name the missing Americans, it was apparently referring to Alhaji Ceesay and Ebrima Jobe, two Gambian-born U.S. citizens, who had traveled to the capital Banjul to look into opening a computer business.
During a visit to Gambia last month, the U.N.’s investigators for illegal killings and for torture heard allegations of extrajudicial executions of government opponents, journalists and activists and the widespread use of torture.
However, they said they were prevented from visiting parts of the main prison in Banjul despite earlier receiving approval…