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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.