Tuesday, October 3

Gambian law and gay-lesbian marriage

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By Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe

The Gambia held serene official decision in December, 2016, won by H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow, who was a UDP part when he was chosen to head the resistance alliance during the 2016 official race. Lesbian, gay, indiscriminate, and transsexual (LGBT) people in The Gambia face lawful difficulties not experienced by non-LGBT inhabitants. Both male and female same-sex sexual action is unlawful in The Gambia as per the Laws of nation. Law with respect to same-sex sexual movement has likewise been changed in the new draft Constitution.

The Gambia Criminal Code, as revised by the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2005, gives as follows:

Segment 144. Unnatural offenses.

(1) Any individual who –

(a) has sex with of any individual against the request for nature; or

(c) Allows a male individual to have sex with of that person against the request for nature;

is blameworthy of a lawful offense, and is subject to detainment for a term of 14 years.

(2) In this segment – “sexual relations with of any individual against the request for nature” incorporates –

(a) Sex with of the individual through the rear-end or the mouth of the individual;

(b) Emeddings any item or thing into the vulva or the butt of the individual to mimic sex; and

(c) Submitting some other gay act with the individual.

Segment 145 gives that any individual who endeavors to submit any of the offenses indicated in Section 144 is blameworthy of a crime and is subject to detainment for a term of seven years. Area 147 states that a male individual who, regardless of whether openly or private, submits an “demonstration of gross foulness” with another male individual or gets another male individual to submit a demonstration of this sort with him, or endeavors to obtain another male individual to submit such a demonstration with himself or another male individual, is blameworthy of a crime and obligated to detainment for a term of five years. The rule additionally expresses that a female individual who, regardless of whether out in the open or private, submits an “demonstration of gross obscenity” with another female individual or acquires another female individual to submit a demonstration of this sort with her, or endeavors to get another female individual to submit such a demonstration with herself or another female individual, is liable of an offense and at risk to detainment for a term of five years. The expression “demonstration of gross obscenity” incorporates any gay demonstration.

Acting as per the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, previous Gambian president Yahya AJJ Jammeh said in May 2008 that laws “stricter than those in Iran” against gay people would before long be acquainted and promised with “remove the head” of any gay trapped in the nation. On 15 May 2008, Jammeh allowed gay people 24 hours to leave the nation. He likewise directed “each one of the individuals who harbor such people to show them out of their mixes, taking note of that a mass watch will be led on the guidelines of the (Inspector General of Police) … also, the overseer of The Gambia Immigration Department to weed terrible components in the public arena”. He stated, “Any inn, hotel, or inn that stops this sort of people will be shut down, in light of the fact that this demonstration is unlawful. We are in a Muslim overwhelmed nation and I won’t and will never acknowledge such people in this nation”. President Jammeh said in a discourse before recently advanced armed force bosses on 7 December 2009, “We won’t support lesbianism and homosexuality in the military. It is an untouchable in our military. I will sack any trooper associated with being a gay or lesbian in The Gambia. We need no gays in our military.” Jammeh encouraged the military bosses to screen the exercises of their men and manage officers keen on rehearsing lesbianism in the military.

It very well may be reviewed that the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Barry L. Wells, the U.S. envoy to The Gambia, related his gathering with Jammeh on 26 February 2010. Representative Barry Wells recommended to President Jammeh that view of him by outside spectators could be credited in huge part to a portion of his more combustible remarks, for example, those identified with … “removing gay’s heads”. The President reacted, “Yes I did offer those remarks however did I really remove anybody’s head? Have I ever captured anybody for being gay? No, yet Senegal has captured and detained somebody for being gay and they get the [Millennium Challenge Corporation]…. There are gays here in The Gambia, I realize that. However, they live stealthily and that approves of me, as long as they continue on ahead in private we wouldn’t fret. In any case, on the off chance that you are looking at wedding in this nation that will never occur. We will never acknowledge gays.”

Two Spanish men claimed to be gay, Pere Joan, 56 and Juan Monpserrat Rusa, 54, were captured by Gambian police and kept at Kotu Police Station in June 2008. “As per … sources, the Spanish reached two cabbies and requested to be taken to where they can meet with gay people, saying they were eager to pay any sum, which the drivers concurred. The sources additionally said the drivers requested that the Spanish stand by, that they planned to look for gay people. At the point when they left, the men adjusted their perspectives and chose to contact the police at the Kotu Police Station, who captured the Spanish.” The men were in this way delivered, purportedly after the Spanish government mediated.

On 23 December 2008, Frank Boers, a 79-year-elderly person from The Netherlands, was captured at the Banjul International Airport when authorities discovered him possessing erotic entertainment, including bare pictures of himself and some Gambian men. A Banjul court saw Boers as blameworthy of profanity with those men and condemned him to pay 100,000 Gambian Dalasis (roughly GBP2,000) in lieu of a two-year jail sentence. After the condemning, Boers told the investigator that he would lean toward jail to the fine since he had no way to pay the fine.

On 10 April 2012, a court remanded 18 claimed gay people (16 from Senegal, 1 from the Gambia, and 1 from Nigeria) who were captured on 9 April at a bar in the Tourism Development Area. They were “accused of foul practice among themselves at a public spot”. As indicated by police declaration in court in July 2012, the captures were made on the grounds that men were wearing ladies’ garments, conveying purses, and “strolling like women”. On 1 August 2012, the examiner dropped all charges for the situation.

The U.S Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Report found that “there was solid cultural oppression LGBT people, some of whom were evaded”, in spite of the fact that “there were no revealed episodes of actual savagery against LGBT people during the year”. The report likewise found that there were no LGBT associations in the nation.

Area 144 condemns sexual relations “against the request for nature” with a punishment of as long as 14 years detainment. Sexual acts are condemns both among men and between ladies under this arrangement. Criminal Code 1934, Section 144 A (as changed by Section 4, Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2014) Aggravated Homosexuality Section 144 A makes arrangement for the offense of “disturbed homosexuality”, which identifies different irritating conditions, including where the wrongdoer is “living with HIV Aids” or a “chronic guilty party”, culpable with life detainment.

Criminal Code 1934, Section 147(1) Indecent practices between guys. Segment 147(1) condemns demonstrations of “net foulness” between guys, characterized as “any gay demonstration”, or the obtainment or endeavored acquisition thereof, with a punishment of five years detainment. Criminal Code 1934, Section 167 Rogues and Vagabonds.

Segment 167, following alteration in 2013, condemns any man who dresses in the design of a lady in a public spot with a punishment of as long as five years detainment and a potential fine.

Criminal Code 1934, Section 147(2) Indecent practices between females.

Segment 147(2), presented through the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2005, condemns demonstrations of “net obscenity” between females, characterized as “any gay demonstration”, or the acquirement or endeavored obtainment thereof, with a punishment of five years detainment.


Reports demonstrate that state powers dispatched a crackdown on the LGBT people group. Three ladies, four men and a 17-year-old kid were captured in two occurrences by the National Intelligence Agency and Presidential Guards in Banjul. They all were explored for the wrongdoings of homosexuality.


The US Department of State Human Rights Report on The Gambia expressed that the law has never been effectively arraigned. With the inescapable order of additional lawful arrangements identifying with same-sex closeness, it appears to be likely that the law is bound to be summoned; as was seen in Uganda with the death of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

A report on The Gambia by Amnesty International showed that a man and a lady who were dared to be LGBT were captured during a dance club assault for endeavors to submit “unnatural acts” and “scheme to submit a crime”. The report showed that charges were dropped because of absence of proof.


Two lesbian ladies and a gay man were supposedly captured and bailed for foul practices.

In April 2020, the Chairperson of the Coalition media group in the West Coast Region, Essa Dampha said that President Adama Barrow’s UK explanation on LGBT was misconstrued. He said Barrow was simply attempting to state Gambia isn’t keen on issues of same-sex-marriage on the grounds that LGBT isn’t an issue in the nation as the West may figure it very well might be. He added “actually this administration will keep on ensuring the rights and opportunity of each Gambian yet with regards to gay issues, I don’t think any certifiable Gambian will come out in the city and begin upholding for gay rights.”


President Barrow stated that homosexuality is a non-issue for the nation. He offered this comment during his gathering with European Union representatives.


In September, setting out the reason for another Bill to the Criminal Code and present the offense of “Disturbed Homosexuality”, the Gambian Justice Minister expressed: “This is required by the expanding pattern of public officials departing suddenly after they have been away on government authorized missions, just as gay acts perpetrated under exasperated conditions”.

Previous Secretary General and Head of Civil Servants and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally, in June criticized western culture and pledged to forestall the advancement of homosexuality: “With the progressing surge of outsider social qualities, upheld and advanced by a good worldwide forces with the help of their media, we the God-venerating individuals of this nation need to fortify and additionally reinforce our defensive obstructions around our hallowed strict and social qualities. Our zero resilience towards homosexuality, drug misuse and different wrongdoings stays solid and will truth be told be additionally reinforced… We will never permit the sacredness of this nation and its kin to be abused and debased. The individuals who need to be companions or accomplices of The Gambia should regard our conventional and social qualities and we as an honorable free individuals will never give in view of negligible unfamiliar guide or the danger of slanderous attack. We should enviously monitor and secure those devices and vehicles that have been utilized by our precursors and ensure our custom. Regardless, we ought to value and protect our circumcision rights, our relationships, our narrating, our social shows, our conventional wrestling, our common cultivating and different practices”.

In May, previous President, Yahya Jammeh, purportedly took steps to murder gay refuge searchers who had left the nation: “A few people go toward the West and guarantee they are gays and that their lives are in danger in The Gambia, with the end goal for them to be allowed a stay in Europe. In the event that I get them I will execute them”. In February, Jammeh called gay individuals “vermin” and expressed that they would be battled similarly as the nation battles intestinal sickness brought about by mosquitoes.


While at a 2013 UN General Assembly meeting in New York, Jammeh purportedly told pioneers: “Homosexuality in the entirety of its structures and indications… however extremely malicious, hostile to human just as against Allah, is being advanced as a common liberty by certain forces”.

In 2012 Jammeh dismissed unfamiliar guide from the UK and USA in the event that it accompanied connections with respect to homosexuality: “On the off chance that you are to give us help for men and men or for ladies and ladies to wed, leave it; we needn’t bother with your guide in light of the fact that, as long as I am the President of The Gambia, you will never witness that in this nation”. He was cited as saying: “In the event that we Africans are to assemble our social orders dependent on external directs and structure our societies dependent on outsider societies, we will be the failures. Yet, on the off chance that they (the West) figure they can stay there and direct to us how we should live, The Gambia will be an exemption since we won’t bargain our social and profound qualities”.

Oppression and discrimination

The 2013 UK Country of Origin Report on The Gambia references an article expounded on individuals put being investigated for homosexuality which fell because of absence of proof: “the litigants actually have the disgrace of being ‘outed’ as gay, having had their photos distributed alongside their names. This has prompted retaliation from the overall population and furthermore from a portion of the litigant’s family who feel that they have disrespected them. Furthermore, as homosexuality isn’t endured in Gambia.” One man distinguished in the article examined his folks’ endeavors to compel him into an organized marriage.


During its second UPR cycle, Gambia dismissed suggestions to decriminalize homosexuality and react at the appropriate time.

President Jammeh endorsed into law an alteration to the Criminal Code. Under Section 144(A) of the corrected Act, any individual who submits the offense of “bothered homosexuality” is “at risk on conviction to detainment forever”. The Act additionally presents a potential long term jail sentence for “Departing suddenly State Officials”, which condemns those people “who leave The Gambia under an administration supported program or on a mission as an agent of The Gambia and decline to get back”, conceivably jeopardizing people looking for shelter in far off nations. In 2013 a correction to the Criminal Code was passed under which sexual orientation articulation can be punished by as long as five years detainment.


During its first UPR cycle, Gambia dismissed various proposals to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual movement and to forestall brutality perpetrated against LGBT people: “On the issue of gay people and sexual direction, we have demonstrated in our report here that in the Gambia, we have difficulties in the usage and assurance of common liberties, and we likewise need to perceive that esteem frameworks, practice, societies are unique. Consequently, inside the Gambia, certain practices and certain societies don’t perceive sexual direction as a general common freedom. This is something that you can’t administer, to force or direct what ought to occur, in light of the fact that the worth frameworks are extraordinary and after some time, the general public firmly feels that sexual direction is certifiably not a basic freedom as in it outrages their worth frameworks”.


1. 1997 Constitution of The Gambia

2. U.S Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Report

3. The Gambia Criminal Code, as revised by the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2005

4. The New Draft Constitution of The Gambia

5. 2013 UK Country of Origin Report on The Gambia