US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice said the comments were “unconscionable” and part of “an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation” in the West African country.
Susan Rice noted in a recent statement said, “The recent unconscionable comments by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh underscore why we must continue to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love.”
President Yahya Jammeh has been captured in several media reports condemning unequivocally acts of homosexuality and threatening severe punitive measures against gays.
Homosexuality is illegal in Gambia, and Jammeh created in October the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which carries a sentence of up to life imprisonment.
Rice said the United States is concerned about reports of broader rights violations in the country, including allegations of missing US citizens.
“We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances -– including of two American citizens — and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands,” Rice said.
She warned the US could take action.
The US revoked trade preferences with Gambia in 2014 after reports of a crackdown against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Rice’s comments come ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Sunday.
Jammeh has since seizing power in 1994 ruled the small former British colony with an iron fist since.
Homosexuality is illegal in 36 out of 54 African countries and punishable by death in four, according to rights watchdog Amnesty International.