A government press release aired by state TV on Friday night has condemned USA’s comments on human rights in The Gambia as “a shameless attempt to divert attention from the abysmal human rights record in the US”. The release further stated that the Gambia Government would like to inform the general public that no amount of pressure could force it to reconsider its rejection of homosexuality. The release, which came from the Office of the President, according to state TV, “strongly rebuts a recent statement made by the National Security Advisor of the USA, Susan Rice, describing the rejection of gay and lesbian activities in The Gambia as a violation of human rights.”

The release said Susan Rice’s statement released on the International Day against homophobia by the White House Press Office, also made “unsubstantiated accusations of arbitrary arrests, detention and torture in The Gambia”.

“These accusations,” the release stated, “are the latest in a systematic campaign to dent the good image of the country and demonize its leadership because of its stance against homosexuality.

“The Government reminds all that homosexuality is totally against the religious, cultural and traditional values of The Gambia and would thus not be tolerated.”

The release added: “The US comments on human rights in The Gambia is a shameless attempt to divert attention from the abysmal human rights record in the US.

“The National Security Advisor should instead address racism, abuses and impunity in America where lately innocent and unarmed African- Americans, for example, are being regularly shot by white police officers with impunity rather than prescribe human rights to Gambians who have a long history of civilization,” the statement said.

“The Office of the President states that the Government of The Gambia will always adhere to our sacred religious values and will not be dictated by ungodly societies, nations or institutions.

“As Muslims and Christians, Gambians worship only Allah and we will preserve the human race by going by Allah’s dictate that only Male and Female can marry.”