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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs