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U.S. Drops The Gambia from Trade Program

By African Human Rights Coalition Staff, December 26, 2014.

According to a U.S. presidential proclamation this week, the United States will drop South Sudan and The Gambia from a duty-free trade program, with effect Jan. 1, 2015.

According to reports the countries failed to meet the conditions that were required.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Guinea-Bissau would be reinstated to a 14-year-old trade program giving African countries duty-free access to U.S. markets, known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The United States is pushing for United Nations action against South Sudan after fighting between government and rebel forces, which has killed more than 10,000 people.

The U.S. National Security Council has voiced concern over The Gambia's moves to block access to UN human rights investigators and enact new laws against homosexuality.

The United States said in June it would also drop Swaziland from the program.

President Obama met with The Gambian President back in August. It certainly does not seem to have helped on the human rights front, as The Gambia has increased its persecution and torture of LGBTI people with recent arrests and calls by President Jammeh to target and turn gay into authorities, for arrest. The President, increasingly seen as an autocratic dictator, once asserted that gays should be decapitated.The Gambia is a small predominantly Musilm country that is surrounded by Senegal.Recently, several LGBTI people, escaping arrest and beatings from The Gambia, crossed over into Senegal and remain desperate for refugee recognition, a status which the Committee for Refugees in Senegal seems to have failed to provide.

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