Gambia: Guided By Values, Govt Won't Decriminalise Homosexuality

The Gambia government says in the face of its guided values and norms, it has no plans to either decriminalise or even entertain a review of laws on homosexuality, a news release from the Office of Government Spokesperson states.

"In the wake of the simmering controversy surrounding gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) in The Gambia, The Government of President Adama Barrow wants to make it absolutely clear that neither President Barrow himself nor any member of his government, its envoy, agent or representative has ever signed, consented to, participated in or even pretended to support any deal, package, programme or agenda for the promotion of LGBT rights as is being falsely reported on news and various social media platforms. In fact, at no time had The Gambia Government ever been faced with the option to accept donor funds as bargaining chips or conditionality for the relaxation of LGBT rights."

"Therefore, it is not only baffling but worrisome to hear some opposition and religious leaders engage in crude speculations or indulge in insinuations and wild innuendoes that cannot be substantiated. Since assuming office in 2017, President Adama Barrow has been working tirelessly to strengthening our democracy, upholding the rule of law and promoting the values of, press freedom, constitutional due process and the independence of the judiciary as evident in the most recent high-profile cases."

"Regrettably, some elements within society have seized this democratic space to sometimes indulge in malicious fabrications against the Government and then peddle these falsehoods on social media to potentially create confusion and distrust among citizens. We therefore urge the Gambian people to remain steadfast against the spread of misleading information and always with respect to Government actions, to verify their accuracy with the relevant authorities."

"Significantly, while the Barrow Government respects and protects the fundamental human rights of all citizens as circumscribed by law and enshrined in our Constitution, it is patently false to suggest that it has been corrupted, compromised or preconditioned to accept European funds to accommodate LGBT rights in our laws. This is false political propaganda orchestrated to score cheap political points."

"Accordingly, The Gambia Government continues to be guided by the values and norms of its people, existing laws and has no plans to either decriminalize or even entertain a review of laws on homosexuality."

4 jump quarantine after flight landing

The Ministry of Health says at least four passengers out of the 140 who arrived in the country on the 22nd June 2020 with the SN Brussels flight escaped from quarantine.

"Of the four (4) escapees, one (1) surrendered himself to the health authorities. The second fugitive was reported by a neighbour and subsequently picked up together with her boyfriend who smuggled her while logistic arrangements were in progress," the Ministry states in a press release.

"Unfortunately, this incident happened at a time when the health officials were working on the safe and orderly transfer of all passengers from Banjul International Airport to the various standard Government-funded quarantine facilities within the Greater Banjul Area. Unlike other countries that use school halls and stadia for quarantine during public health emergencies, The Gambia Government rents standard hotels as quarantine facilities."

"Here in The Gambia, persons taken into quarantine are provided with full boarding and accommodation for the duration of the 14-day quarantine. The Government Regulation on mandatory quarantine for Gambians and Non-Gambians arriving from COVID-19 hotspot countries will be quarantined without exception remains valid."

"Furthermore, the Ministry of Health would like to call on all those who travelled from Belgium through SN Brussels flight to Banjul and absconded from the quarantine centres are strongly urged to report to the health authorities or call 1025 for the necessary actions to be taken failure of which their names will be announced over the media to be followed by arrests from their homes. Persons that escaped quarantine are reminded that the health authorities are in possession of their passport details and addresses."

"In conclusion, the Ministry of Health is soliciting the continuous support and cooperation of the general public in its efforts to contain COVID-19 and also in addressing health care needs of the population."

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