U.S. Kicks African Nation From Trade Agreement Over Anti-LGBT Crackdown

By  Junior Mayema,

Well while i am starting stop supporting financial or trade sanction especially in Africa since all African leaders eyes and focus are on China since they believe that China is leading the world’s economy and according to them China supports persecution of gay people and financial sanction is affecting all populations including LGBT people themselves:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/12/07/chinas-now-the-world-number-one-economy-and-it-doesnt-matter-a-darn/

The good news is financial sanction is pushing Ugandan President Museveni to retreat from persecuting LGBT people so financial sanction and trade sanction can have an effect in a poor and under-developed continent such as Africa, it can have ramifications and lead african leaders to stop persecuting , imprisoning  their own people for who they are and who they love  so,  the United States just gotta push in that direction in order to monitor human rights violation in Africa my own continent:

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-18197-Ugandas+Museveni+in+anti-gay+law+rethink/news.aspx

Here is the whole story below and Merry Christmas thanks God Uganda”s antigay laws failed to be 2014 Christmas gift :

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/us-kicks-african-nation-from-trade-agreement-over-anti-lgbt?utm_term=.qdLDJEQ10#.wvn5N7pgJ

The United States on Tuesday dropped the Gambia from a popular free trade agreement in response to a crackdown on LGBT rights and other human rights concerns.

The decision to drop the small West African nation from special trade status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000 came late Tuesday afternoon, just after media in the Gambia announced that three men would be put on trial for homosexuality. These are the first to face trial since police began arresting people on allegations of homosexuality in November. At least 16 more are known to be in detention, and Gambian human rights activists do not know if they are even still alive.

“The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has been monitoring the human rights situation in The Gambia for the past few years, with deepening concerns about the lack of progress with respect to human rights, rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House, in an email to BuzzFeed News. “In addition, in October, Gambian President Jammeh signed into law legislation that further restricts the rights of LGBT individuals, including life imprisonment for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality.’ Reports have surfaced of arrests, detention, and torture of individuals because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The move comes after Gambian human rights activists were able to secure their first meetings with high-ranking U.S. officials after years of unsuccessfully trying to get the State Department to respond to the abysmal human rights during President Yahya Jammeh’s 20 years in power. The meeting coincided with a petition drive launched by the largest American LGBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign, calling on the Obama administration to “take swift action against President Jammeh for his intolerable actions.” LGBT rights advocates say their role in opening doors to the Obama administration suggests they have fully arrived as a force in influencing U.S. foreign policy.

“For the first time the gay community really is coming together to get equal consideration in U.S. foreign policy,” said Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, which lobbies for LGBT rights in international affairs. Bromley said that only in recent years have LGBT groups been able to exert the kind of influence that certain religious or ethnic communities have exerted to focus the U.S.’s foreign policy when their counterparts in other countries are under threat.

The meeting that Gambian human rights activists held with White House officials earlier this month — which was facilitated in part by the Council for Global Equality — was the first time they say they had met with anyone above the level of a State Department desk officer to discuss Jammeh’s human rights record. This was thanks in large part to the “support that this LGBT issue has,” said Fatou Camara, a former press secretary for President Jammeh who was charged with sedition and now is an opposition activist living in the United States.

Under the AGOA trade arrangement, the Gambia had been exporting about $37 million in goods to the United States each year duty-free. Expelling the Gambia from the special trade status was the first time that the U.S. had sent the kind of signal that Jammeh will take seriously in response to human rights abuses, Camara said.

“Jammeh [will] know that the US is really not joking not now,” Camara said. Until now, “he was really playing with them” and behaving as if there were no consequences for violating human rights protections. Among the dozens who have been killed or disappeared under his rule are two American citizens believed to have been abducted by Jammeh’s security forces in 2013.

The U.S. has almost never revoked this trade status from an African nation except when a government was overthrown in a coup, said Jeffrey Smith, an advocacy officer with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights who has been assisting Gambian activists lobby the Obama administration. South Sudan, which has been in the midst of a civil war since last December, was also removed from AGOA on Tuesday. But this was a symbolic disapproval of their unwillingness to make progress toward peace, as the U.S. and South Sudan have no significant amount of trade.B5jeFBhCEAEGz6D

 http://www.jollofnews.com/index.php/op/626-it-s-about-time-to-end-dictatorship-in-the-gambia-waato-seeta?fb_action_ids=806058226123621&fb_action_types=og.comments

The decision on Tuesday, December 23rd by the White House to strip The Gambia of its designation as a beneficiary of preferential status under the U.S’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a clear indication that the international community has had enough of Yahya Jammeh’s tyrannical rule.

It’s about time that effective and concerted measures are devised to end dictatorship in The Gambia.

Yahya Jammeh’s ongoing onslaught against individuals presumed to be gay in The Gambia should be viewed within the context of a dying regime that is facing unprecedented and daunting challenges. His international support base is crumbling. A delay in the disbursement of aid from the European Union (EU) due to human rights concerns, the loss of Taiwan as a principal financial backer and trading partner, as well as a worsening economic situation, characterized by a rapid decline in the value of the local currency, have combined to put Jammeh and his heavy-handed regime on the defensive.

With the threat of western sanctions and the ever-increasing assertiveness of Gambian dissidents and civil society groups in the Diaspora, Jammeh is banking his political longevity on shifting the
debate to convenient topics that are familiar to long-ruling despots across Africa. In fact, Jammeh’s rhetorical venom is an expedient means with which to divert attention from truly pressing problems in the country, including the imminent threat of food shortages and potential famine.

Two recent examples highlight this strategy: first, the EU acted in the face of mounting human rights abuses in 2012 by outlining 17 reforms that The Gambia should undertake, further backing up their stance this year by delaying a 150 million euro aid package. Not once did the EU mention the issue of LGBT rights specifically.WATO

Nevertheless, the Gambian government brazenly twisted the facts, claiming on state television and in print media, both of which are tightly controlled by the Jammeh regime, that the EU was somehow forcing homosexuality onto the devoutly Muslim and religiously conservative country. But don’t be fooled: despite cloaking itself in Islamic garb, the Jammeh regime has repeatedly targeted Imams who refuse to toe his government’s hard-line stances.

Second, the White House recently issued a statement that expressed “dismay” about the dire human rights situation facing Gambian citizens, particularly regime critics. The U.S. echoed similar concerns at the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this year.

In both instances, the issue of LGBT rights was mentioned only peripherally and noted as one example among many human rights abuses that prevail in the country. The Gambian government reacted swiftly, claiming that the U.S. was attempting to “impose its values” and staged an absurd media spectacle wherein a television reporter asked citizens their thoughts on “homosexuality.”

Since wresting power in a so-called “bloodless coup” in 2004, which toppled a democratically elected president, Jammeh and his cronies have abused human rights with total impunity. Prior to this period, The Gambia was widely seen as one of Africa’s rising democratic stars, so much so that the African Union built the headquarters of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in its capital, Banjul, and named the continent’s sweeping human rights declaration in honor of the same city.

Jammeh has abused human rights with impunity both at home and abroad, including in the United States. In August of this year, for example, his security team viciously assaulted peaceful protesters who were demonstrating outside his hotel in Washington, DC during the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. The very next day, President Jammeh stood side-by-side with a smiling President Obama at the White House – pictures that would later be used for domestic propaganda purposes – sending a clear signal to Gambians that he is immune to any and all potential consequences.

In another instance, this author was in fact detained by the paramilitary unit of the Gambia Police Force in 2011 and ultimately sentenced to life in prison, after a sham trial, for distributing t-shirts with the slogan “End Dictatorship Now.” There is also an international warrant for my arrest, issued by the Gambian government, simply for conducting peaceful demonstrations that demand an end to human rights abuses.

Jammeh is a threat to regional stability in West Africa, a fact often overlooked by outside observers. Indeed, there is credible evidence that he has been directly aiding and providing refuge to Casamance rebels, causing insecurity in the south of Senegal as well as in Guinea-Bissau.

Notwithstanding Jammeh’s excesses and the dire state in which The Gambia currently resides, it can surely get back on a positive track. However, Gambians and the international community must act decisively. President Jammeh is far too comfortable. He and his purveyors of terror have never faced accountability for their innumerable and heinous crimes, nor have they felt the full brunt of global condemnation. It is time to break the collective silence and to take concrete actions.

In view of Yahya Jammeh’s total disregard for basic human rights, The Gambia’s neighbors and development partners should impose visa or travel bans on Jammeh and his family members and business associates as well as all those individuals implicated in human rights violations in the country. In addition, these individuals should have their assets frozen by the United States and members of the European Union.

Finally, serious efforts must be undertaken by civil society organizations with assistance from relevant international organizations for the investigation and possible prosecution of Yahya Jammeh by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Twenty years of tyranny is enough. The time to act is now. Waato seeta!

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