(JollofNews) – The Government of the Gambia has reacted angrily to the annual human rights and labour report by the United States’ government which severely criticised the APRC regime of President Yahya Jammeh over its treatment and lack of respect for the rights and liberties of Gambians.
The report which was published last Thursday by the State Department, the Obama Administration said over the past year, the Jammeh regime has committed many human rights abuses with impunity including enforced disappearances, arrest and torture thereby creating a more restrictive environment for Gambians in the country including journalists and government critics.
It said although the Gambian constitution and laws prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, there were reports that security forces tortured, beat, and mistreated persons in state custody.
It cited the finding of the UN special rapporteurs and local newspaper reports that officers of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the police consistently practiced torture including severe beatings, electric shock, asphyxiation, and burning on individuals suspected of common crimes.
But reacting to the report, Sheriff Bojang, minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, accused the US government of hypocrisy and peddling misleading and false reports about the Gambia.
“It is true that every state has its incidental vulgarities and challenges and The Gambia is not an exception.But this blanket indictment by the self-appointed policeman of the world is inaccurate, grossly misleading and blatantly false,” the minister said.
“The United States is guilty by a hundred if not a thousand times of the litany of the very things they are accusing the Gambia of perpetrating. And not just in the United States but throughout the world wherever they have influence and sway.
“Apart from the historical genocidal crimes of slavery and colonialism, US agents and their proxies have violently overthrown democratically elected governments, stoked civil wars, waged wars of aggression against sovereign states resulting in the death of millions of innocent, men, women and children with impunity. Not to talk about the infliction of the most horrendous forms of torture in their prisons including Guantanamo Bay. The US has systemically been abusing its status as a hegemon to commit the worst crimes with utter impunity and it therefore has no moral right to preach to any country about human rights.”
Mr Bojang, a UK-educated former newspaper proprietor added: “The Gambia has achieved significant progress in legal due process, press freedom and trafficking in persons. The US report accuses the Gambia Government of interference in the practice of religion.
“Nothing is farther from the truth than that. The Gambia is universally hailed as a haven for religious tolerance and freedom.”
Reiterating the Jammeh regime’s tough stance against homosexuality, Mr Bojang said like bestiality, homosexuality is against everything Gambians stand for and no amount of coercion will change the government’s stance.
He added: “[Homosexuality] is against the nature and against our culture and religion. We are a God-believing people as Muslims and Christians and such acts of depravity are condemned in the strongest terms by our Creator. Therefore, no amount of coercion will change our stance with regard to this issue.”