January 25, 2015 – Reported by the Washington Blade – More than a dozen LGBT advocacy groups on Friday called upon the Obama administration ban Gambian officials responsible for human rights abuses from entering the U.S.
The Human Rights Campaign, the Council for Global Equality, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights First, GLAAD, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Global Justice Institute with the Metropolitan Community Churches, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Out and Equal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in a letter urged the White House to institute a visa ban on Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and other “key Gambian officials” who “have promoted discriminatory laws and who are responsible for grave human rights abuses.” The groups also called upon the Obama administration to freeze Jammeh’s U.S. assets that include a multi-million dollar home in Potomac, Md.
“It is not too late for the United States to send President Jammeh and his regime a clear and unequivocal message: human rights violations will not be tolerated and the U.S. government will respond with actions, as well as with strong condemnation,” reads the letter. “It is crucial that the United States take concrete action whenever countries enact discriminatory laws, and the Gambia should be no exception.”
The letter comes against the backdrop of growing outrage over Gambia’s LGBT rights record.
Jammeh — who came to power in the small West African country in a 1994 coup — last fall signed into a law a bill under which those convicted of “aggravated” homosexuality” face life in prison. Reports from human rights advocates and others indicate Gambian authorities subsequently arrested more than a dozen people they accused of being gay…story continues below…