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U.S. Statement at the Adoption of the UPR Working Group Report for The Gambia
March 26, 2015

28th Session of the Human Rights Council

March 26, 2015

– as delivered –

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.

The United States appreciates the opportunity to comment on the final Working Group report on the Gambia.

We are deeply concerned by human rights abuses in The Gambia. We support the recommendations from Spain and the U.K. to investigate torture allegations and those from numerous member states relating to protecting freedom of expression.  We urge the Government of The Gambia to give access to and cooperate with UN Special Procedures.  Such access would assist The Gambia in combatting impunity and protecting the rights of its citizens.

We are also aware of reports that the government has held individuals incommunicado it believes were involved in or have information about the failed coup attempt.

The government has also targeted individuals because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and enacted legislation for the so-called crime of “aggravated homosexuality.” The United States appreciates that several states provided recommendations regarding the human rights of LGBT persons in The Gambia.  We call on the Government of the Gambia to defend and protect the human rights of all Gambians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Lastly, we reiterate our call for The Gambia to investigate reported and alleged forced disappearances, including the disappearance of U.S. citizens Alhaji Ceesay and Ebrima Jobe and the disappearance of Gambian journalist Ebrima Manneh.

Thank you.