International rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its 2013 Hall of Shame for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) today.
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was named for his ‘persistent’ homophobia. He directly addressed LGBT people in parliament in March saying ‘if you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders’.
HRW report that 20 people were charged with committing ‘unnatural offenses’ in the Gambia in 2012, but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The organization say that Jammeh’s attitude poses a particular threat to LGBT rights defenders in Africa who travel to his country for meetings of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which is hosted in Banjul, the Gambia’s capital.
Ukrainian MP Vadym Kolesnichenko and political party Svoboda were both named in HRW’s LGBT rights hall of shame 2013 for pushing for legislation that would oppress LGBT people’s freedom of expression.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) was also named in HRW hall of shame for ‘attempting to export homophobia to Africa’.
The ACLJ, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, opposes LGBT equality. Its offshoot organization the East African Centre for Law and Justice lobbied against Kenya‘s new constitution in 2010 because its anti-discrimination clause could be used to progress LGBT equality.
‘Homophobia and transphobia are still very much alive and pose a daily threat to the basic human rights of LGBT people,’ said Graeme Reid, HRW’s LGBT rights director.
‘The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is a celebration of achievements and a reminder to all that human rights are universal and apply to everyone, including LGBT people.’