News

    Gambian President Says No to Aid Money Tied to Gay Rights

    Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (file photo)
    Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (file photo)
    Ricci Shryock

    Gay rights advocates in Africa say Western diplomats who threaten to take away aid money over a government's mistreatment of gays often hurt the cause rather than help it.

    Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) advocate based in London, said recent comments made by Gambia President Yahya Jammeh are a good example of this potential harm. On Saturday, Jammeh said he could not be “bribed” with foreign aid to accept gay rights in his country.

    Western leaders such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron have been issuing increasingly stern warnings to countries throughout Africa about the importance of protecting gay rights. Late last year, Mr. Cameron said Britain could make aid conditional upon a country's relaxing its ban on homosexuality.

    The reality is, Alimi explains, “Gambia needs international aid to provide the smallest services for its people.”

    "Now the president of Gambia is saying, ‘We will not be coerced into supporting homosexuality because of international aid.’ And that means big backlash on the LGBT people. The moment you are identified as an LGBT person you are seen as a reason for the lack of development.”

    Alimi said statements like Mr. Cameron’s allow leaders like Jammeh to blame the gay community for a lack of development.

    The Nigerian activist added Western leaders should go beyond making threatening statements to the government and improve their support of LGBT activism on the ground.

    “There’s going to be a witch hunt,” Alimi said. “These same governments that are saying if you don’t support gay rights we will not give you money, are not actually protecting those people. And the achievements that these people have made – in terms of gay right advocacy, gay rights activism – is being put into trouble because of statement of somebody very comfortable in the White House, in Downing Street.”

    Alimi works as a spokesperson for Kaleidoscope Trust and heads his own African Migrant Organization. He said his groups are trying to work with activists in many African countries to promote grassroots activism. The goal is to engage local political leaders and put a face to the reality of LGBT people, rather than coming at the issue through a top-down approach.

    Earlier this month, 19 men were arrested in Gambia and charged with indecent practices after being “suspected of homosexuality.”

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sujatha
    April 28, 2012 9:48 PM
    Should #LGBT Rights Be Considered Human Rights? Should #LGBT Rights Be Accepted Globally? http://bit.ly/lgbt12

    by: Benoben
    April 24, 2012 1:50 PM
    "I also was born gay and discovered my sexuality at (14? not 4 momths or 7 months or 9 months or 5 years?) and have been enjoying my sexuality since then."

    So you wasn't born gay. Your just sick.

    by: Ben
    April 24, 2012 8:46 AM
    Of course people are born gay... stupid to say something else....

    by: AtCornelius
    April 24, 2012 7:41 AM
    Whether or not you're "born" gay is irrelevant. Sexuality isn't a choice; ask the worldwide community of psychiatric doctors and therapists. You believe in a religion invented by Bronze-age middle easterners who had no idea how the world worked or why? That's your right. But for you to tell me that I have to live by *your* ignorant, religious beliefs is absurd.

    by: cornelius
    April 24, 2012 5:39 AM
    No one is born gay. In the beginning god made them male and female.The Bible makes it very clear that it is not of God, and God does not make miss-stakes. Read the Book of Romans Chapter 1 and do a follow study, then ask yourself,"are you pleasing God or yourself?", Then ask yourself "do you want to please God or yourself?".

    by: Davis Mac-Iyalla
    April 24, 2012 12:55 AM
    Please help tell the mad president that he is not my landlord, I became an African from the moment I was born nothing can change that, I also was born gay and discovered my sexuality at 14 and have been enjoying my sexuality since then. I am already an African so his hate and homophobia is just rubbish but we will not just stand looking, we will fight for our right at all times and at all places.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora