Secretary of State John Kerry responded to harsh, anti-gay comments made by Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh in a Wednesday statement.
In a Tuesday state television appearance, Jammeh called homosexuals "vermin," likening them to "malaria-causing mosquitoes." Kerry called the president's discriminatory comments "unacceptable," calling on the international community to join the United States in denouncing such rhetoric:
The United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National Day speech on February 18. All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. We call on the Government of The Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians, and we encourage the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love.
Jammeh has long been a vocal opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Last September, the Gambian leader called homosexuality one of the "biggest threats to human existence." In April, he said gay individuals are not welcome in Gambia and, if caught, "will regret why you are born."