Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Human Rights in The Gambia
The United States is deeply concerned by continued reports of human rights abuses in The Gambia. Since October, the Government of The Gambia has denied access to UN Special Rapporteurs investigating reports of torture and extrajudicial execution, targeted individuals for arrest and detention because of their perceived sexual orientation or political position, and enacted legislation that imposes a possible sentence of life imprisonment for the so-called crime of “aggravated homosexuality.”
We remain concerned about ongoing reports of forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, including of journalists, human rights advocates, and civil servants, as well as continued calls by senior officials for the persecution of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. We remain deeply disappointed in the Gambian government’s failure to investigate the disappearance of two U.S. citizens missing since June 2013.
Protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, and we will be guided by these values as we respond to these negative developments in The Gambia. Such actions are inconsistent with international standards and deal a setback to the Gambian people and all people who value human rights. The United States calls on the Government of The Gambia to respect all human rights, repeal discriminatory legislation, and cease these harmful practices.