The Gambian government has stated clearly that it would not decriminalise homosexuality nor review its existing laws on it.
Gambia, a country with majority of citizens being Muslims does not have laws that are friendly towards gays and lesbians.
Persons caught engaging in homosexual activity face conviction which can carry a hefty prison sentence.
In recent weeks there has been a major controversy in Gambia over the topic of homosexuality after the European Union office in the country called for protection of LGBT persons.
In a post on Twitter, the EU delegation to Gambia said “As entrenched in the 1997 Constitution, all Gambians have an equal right to education, employment, health services and political participation. Gay and lesbian Gambians are, first and foremost, Gambians.”
It added that the “EU stands ready to take action to protect human rights defenders. In The Gambia (2019), the EU had to use its Human Rights safeguarding mechanism to save someone whose life was threatened because of his sexual orientation. Such threats have no place in a democratic society.”
— EU in The Gambia (@EUinTheGambia) May 17, 2020
For weeks there has been pressure on the government to respond to the said posts from the EU on social media.
Relaxed law for aid?
Some citizens speculated that the EU could pressurize Gambia towards relaxing its homosexual laws in exchange for aid funds.
But on Tuesday the government denied such reports saying in a statement that it “has no plans to either decriminalise or even entertain a review of laws on homosexuality”.
“This is false political propaganda orchestrated to score cheap political points,” said government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh.
He also said that government will continue to be guided by “the norms of its people.”
Under former President Yahya Jammeh, persons engaged in homosexuality when arrested and heavily prosecuted.
That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon even though Gambia is in the process of reviewing its constitution.