(JollofNews) – The US government has expressed deep concern at serious human rights abuses in the Gambia under the APRC regime of President Yahya Jammeh.
Mr Jammeh, a former army lieutenant who came to power in a military coup and is dubbed ‘The Barking Dog’ by his critics for his rants, has been governing the Gambia with an iron fist.
He loves drawing international condemnation by lashing out at gays and lesbians and subjecting political opponents to torture and forcing them to confess to sedition on television. His regime is accused of committing serious rights abuses including arbitrary arrest and enforced disappearance.
Since October, the Jammeh regime 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.
But in a statement issued yesterday evening, the Obama administration said it is 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.
It reminded the Jammeh regime that its actions are inconsistent with international standards and deal a setback to the Gambian people and all people who value human rights.
“Protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is a cornerstone of US foreign policy and we will be guided by these values as we respond to these negative developments in the Gambia,” the statement added.
While expressing its disappointment with the Jammeh regime for failing to investigate the disappearance of two US citizens who went missing while on a visit to Banjul in June 2013, the Obama administration called on Mr Jammeh and his government to respect all human rights, repeal discriminatory legislation, and cease these harmful practices.