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Gambia dropped from US trade program following introduction of anti-gay law Watch

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    The Obama administration on Tuesday announced Gambia is no longer eligible to take part in a duty-free trade program amid growing concerns over the country’s LGBT crackdown and other human rights abuses.

    Reuters reported the U.S. will also drop South Sudan from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a law then-President Bill Clinton signed in 2000 that allows sub-Saharan African countries to access U.S. markets. The news agency said the Obama administration will allow Guinea-Bissau to rejoin the program.

    The changes take effect on Jan. 1.
    Ned Price, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, noted to the Washington Blade late on Tuesday that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in October signed a law under which those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” face life in prison.

    Reuters earlier this week reported Gambian authorities recently arrested three men they said engaged in same-sex sexual relations. It appears the White House had already decided to drop Gambia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act when the aforementioned report emerged.

    “The U.S. Trade Representative 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 Price.

    “Reports have surfaced of arrests, detention and torture of individuals because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” he added.

    Jammeh said during a 2013 speech at the U.N. General Assembly that homosexuality is among the three “biggest threats to human existence.” Jammeh earlier this year described gay men as “vermin” during a speech that commemorated Gambia’s independence from the U.K. The European Union earlier this year delayed a 150 million euro aid package to the country after Jammeh failed to implement 17 reforms that include the repeal of the death penalty.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/....4FTiz7VS.dpuf

    It's nice to see the US actively opposing the human rights abuse seen in countries like Gambia. Too often empty threats are made, so it's good to see action actually being taken. However, should the whole of Gambia suffer because of their leader's bigotries?
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/....4FTiz7VS.dpuf

    It's nice to see the US actively opposing the human rights abuse seen in countries like Gambia. Too often empty threats are made, so it's good to see action actually being taken. However, should the whole of Gambia suffer because of their leader's bigotries?
    The people shouldn't, but there isn't really a way to avoid it is there? Maybe it'll help them gain the motivation to over through their leader and establish a democratic society.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of the population would be anti-gay themselves though.

    It's a pleasant change that the US is showing some integrity for once though.
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    The problem is that most of Africa has those sort of disgusting backward laws. And non African countries as well. The western world should be more consistent with condemnation of anti-gay laws.

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    Respect to Gambia for continuing to reject US imperialism.
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    (Original post by al_94)
    Respect to Gambia for continuing to reject US imperialism.
    I don't quite see how this has anything to do with imperialism? Gambia is independent.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    I don't quite see how this has anything to do with imperialism? Gambia is independent.
    President Yahya Jammeh is standing up against the imperialists and not accepting homosexuality in Gambia.
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    (Original post by al_94)
    President Yahya Jammeh is standing up against the imperialists and not accepting homosexuality in Gambia.
    It's not a matter of imperialism though - it's a matter of money. Gambia can't expect to be given financial aid if they're just going to throw their middle finger up in the US' face when they're asked not to punish homosexuality with lifetime sentences in prison. The Americans don't want to control Gambia, but at the same time they don't want to support a country with unacceptable draconian laws.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    It's not a matter of imperialism though - it's a matter of money. Gambia can't expect to be given financial aid if they're just going to throw their middle finger up in the US' face when they're asked not to punish homosexuality with lifetime sentences in prison. The Americans don't want to control Gambia, but at the same time they don't want to support a country with unacceptable draconian laws.
    Would you take a different view if the US withdrew aid because a country refused to lower tariffs on imports, privatise utilities, and lower taxes?

    What if the evidence suggested that that would save more lives than abolishing the death penalty for homosexuality?
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Would you take a different view if the US withdrew aid because a country refused to lower tariffs on imports, privatise utilities, and lower taxes?

    What if the evidence suggested that that would save more lives than abolishing the death penalty for homosexuality?
    So essentially you're asking me, where do we draw the line? A colossal question in political philosophy! I cannot say where we draw the line between a policy that deserves the withdrawal of aid and a policy that doesn't. However, I think life imprisonment for homosexuality is a worthy policy for the withdrawal of aid if that country has refused to compromise but still expects free aid.

    To the best of my knowledge and research, Gambia hasn't used the death penalty for homosexuality. The recent change is from the maximum sentence going from 14 years to lifetime.
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    (Original post by al_94)
    Respect to Gambia for continuing to reject US imperialism.
    Rejecting Western cultural imperialism is a bad thing. It means you're a barbarian. Don't be a barbarian.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    So essentially you're asking me, where do we draw the line? A colossal question in political philosophy! I cannot say where we draw the line between a policy that deserves the withdrawal of aid and a policy that doesn't. However, I think life imprisonment for homosexuality is a worthy policy for the withdrawal of aid if that country has refused to compromise but still expects free aid.

    To the best of my knowledge and research, Gambia hasn't used the death penalty for homosexuality. The recent change is from the maximum sentence going from 14 years to lifetime.
    It's not so much a line. I am asking if there is some special emotional value attached to laws against homosexuals versus economic policy.

    You have said it is not imperialism or imperialism-like to condition aid to desperately poor countries on their adopting certain social policy, but plenty of people make that argument with respect to the IMF conditioning its loans to poor countries on the basis of adopting certain economic policies. Of course you may not be one of those people.

    I find it interesting because imprisonment and execution of homosexuals is a negligible source of suffering in the third world. It's bad, but compared to malnutrition and disease it affects a tiny number of people; at this point it is essentially a symbolic issue not a practical one. The way to fix malnutrition and disease is economic reform. Yet I suspect many of the people who will support this move would vehemently attack conditioning of aid on implementing economic reforms.
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    Homosexuality shouldn't be imposed in thesse countries. It's the west who think its acceptable.
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    (Original post by Anonynous)
    Homosexuality shouldn't be imposed in thesse countries. It's the west who think its acceptable.
    In other words, gays who find themselves in barbaric countries deserve to be oppressed.

    What kind of disgusting attitude is this.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    It's not so much a line. I am asking if there is some special emotional value attached to laws against homosexuals versus economic policy.
    From a humanist perspective, of course there is. Morality should always be placed in higher regard than some bull**** economic policy.

    (Original post by Anonynous)
    Homosexuality shouldn't be imposed in thesse countries. It's the west who think its acceptable.
    Homosexuality isn't "being imposed". Homosexuality exists whether you like it or not (and clearly you do not), killing and imprisoning gay people not only isn't going to make it "go away" (for lack of better phrasing), but it's also incredibly intolerant and an imposition on the freedom of the general populace.
    As a leader you have certain responsibilities, and one of them is the general care of the people. Imprisoning people because they choose to have same-sex relations is nothing short of barbaric.

    Edit: Oh dear, I just warned for calling you an asshat. Looks like TSR isn't too cool with people calling out bigotry, implied or otherwise.
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    (Original post by Drunk Punx)
    From a humanist perspective, of course there is. Morality should always be placed in higher regard than some bull**** economic policy.
    Widespread malnutrition and disease is, at least to my mind, a moral consideration and essentially an economic question.

    You make "humanism" sound an awful lot like a secular religion, like IS that doesn't care how many muslims it butchers so long as the state that comes out ticks all the correct boxes in religious law.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Widespread malnutrition and disease is, at least to my mind, a moral consideration and essentially an economic question.
    I can see your point, but it's a tricky situation. On one hand, the US could continue giving aid to Gambia and in doing so, be seen to condone an oppressive attitude towards gay people. By doing so, people suffer. On the other hand, they could withdraw aid and condemn an oppressive regime. By doing so, people suffer.

    What would you do? I don't know the numbers of it (both financially and the percentage of the populace that it effects), but I would imagine that more people would suffer from the lack of aid than they would at the hands of the law.
    So I suppose the more humanitarian approach would be to go with the lesser of two evils and continue giving aid, but at the same time they'd effectively be condemning people who choose to have same-sex relations, which is something that in this day and age any civilized society cannot turn their back on.

    However, the ball is now in Gambias' court, and it's their responsibility to do right by their people and get shot of this horrible slight against basic human rights.

    You make "humanism" sound an awful lot like a secular religion, like IS that doesn't care how many muslims it butchers so long as the state that comes out ticks all the correct boxes in religious law.
    I value inherent morality (though that's a debate of its' own) more than I do the man-made concept of economy *shrugs*
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    (Original post by Drunk Punx)
    I can see your point, but it's a tricky situation. On one hand, the US could continue giving aid to Gambia and in doing so, be seen to condone an oppressive attitude towards gay people. By doing so, people suffer. On the other hand, they could withdraw aid and condemn an oppressive regime. By doing so, people suffer.

    What would you do? I don't know the numbers of it (both financially and the percentage of the populace that it effects), but I would imagine that more people would suffer from the lack of aid than they would at the hands of the law.
    So I suppose the more humanitarian approach would be to go with the lesser of two evils and continue giving aid, but at the same time they'd effectively be condemning people who choose to have same-sex relations, which is something that in this day and age any civilized society cannot turn their back on.

    However, the ball is now in Gambias' court, and it's their responsibility to do right by their people and get shot of this horrible slight against basic human rights.
    Right, and this is what I was hinting at earlier, that probably the US is inflicting more harm here that it would prevent even if Gambia concedes (which it probably won't, as these laws seem to be very popular in Africa). Meanwhile many people object strongly to this sort of cajoling even when it could have a large positive effect, like with economic reform. In fact I suspect that a lot of the people who will praise this are the same people who would strongly condemn cajoling over economic reforms.

    I value inherent morality (though that's a debate of its' own) more than I do the man-made concept of economy *shrugs*
    I therefore find the ISIS, or Christian fundamentalist, comparison somewhat apt. You are more interested in the abstract knowledge that the Holy Law is respected than its practical effect on human welfare.
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    (Original post by Reluire)
    It's not a matter of imperialism though - it's a matter of money. Gambia can't expect to be given financial aid if they're just going to throw their middle finger up in the US' face when they're asked not to punish homosexuality with lifetime sentences in prison. The Americans don't want to control Gambia, but at the same time they don't want to support a country with unacceptable draconian laws.
    I don't buy this idea that America cares about so called "human rights". If that's the case then why do they torture people in Guantanamo Bay? Why do they use drones to bomb people including their own citizens? This is what majority of people in Africa think of gays.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Right, and this is what I was hinting at earlier, that probably the US is inflicting more harm here that it would prevent even if Gambia concedes (which it probably won't, as these laws seem to be very popular in Africa). Meanwhile many people object strongly to this sort of cajoling even when it could have a large positive effect, like with economic reform. In fact I suspect that a lot of the people who will praise this are the same people who would strongly condemn cajoling over economic reforms.
    Like I said, it's a tricky situation. I'm not sure what the relationship between Gambia and the US is, but to insert another point, why is Gambia now the US' responsibility? Nobody can be blamed for where they're born, and people do have to make the best of any given situation, but the US giving aid to Gambia is a bonus for Gambia, not a given. It's their right to withdraw aid should they feel the need to do so, and in this case I think they've got it right by condemning the actions of the leadership of a country that choose to challenge basic human rights on the basis of god knows what (irrationality, no doubt).

    My knowledge of international relations is comparable to a chocolate teapot, but it wouldn't surprise me if Russia picked up the slack just to pull a fast one on the US (plus they haven't exactly been gay-friendly recently, so it furthers their political agenda regarding that too). One pulls out, another puts in. Practical balance is restored, but injustice remains. And I cannot condone that (this is all hypothetical, of course. Russia probably won't do **** given the state of their economy).

    I therefore find the ISIS, or Christian fundamentalist, comparison somewhat apt. You are more interested in the abstract knowledge that the Holy Law is respected than its practical effect on human welfare.
    No. I'm not basing morality on canon or divinity (and to insinuate that you can't have morality without religious intervention is weak sauce and no grounds for an argument, though taking what you've said purely as a comparison I can see what you're getting at), I'm basing it on the compassion that we share for each other as a species.
    So it's a conflict between practicality (give them the aid because for all we know they're starving) and principle (stop oppressing the people you're supposed to protect you *******s).

    The notion that the majority shouldn't suffer as a result of the minority is correct. The notion that the leaders of a country should care for its' citizens and not penalise them with bigotry is also correct. So we're at an impasse. You would go for the practical approach, whereas I hold the principle closer to heart. We could argue back and forth all day on this, but I really don't want to exact the old "agree to disagree" on you so I'll see where your response takes us.
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    (Original post by Anonynous)
    Homosexuality shouldn't be imposed in thesse countries. It's the west who think its acceptable.
    Imposed? Homosexuality and gay rights affects absolutely no one except the gay people themselves. You cannot "impose" a sexuality on someone.

    It is largely the west who think it's acceptable. In this case the west happens to be right.
 
 
 
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