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Updating the News: Gambia, Colombia, Myanmar

February 7, 2017
Plain English Version

Gambia and Gay People

A demonstration at Gambian Embassy in London.

A demonstration taking place at Gambian Embassy in London.

The president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, is gone. He ruled Gambia for twenty-two years. He lost an election. Still, he held on to the office. Troops from other countries surrounded the country. African leaders convinced him to go. He left with millions of dollars of stolen goods.

He was a dictator. That was not all. Of African leaders, he was the most anti-gay. It is not easy to be the “most anti-gay” in a continent in which most governments are against gays.

Yahya Jammeh made Gambia the most hostile place in Africa for LGBH people. In most countries, groups are beginning to work to improve the civil rights of the LGBH community. Jammeh warned gay people he would cut off their heads if they did not leave his country. He warned gay men he would slit their throats.

The new president is Adama Barrow. He has not yet spoken out on the issue. Things would improve if he just ignored the matter.

Some say the people of Gambia are open and loving. Others say the society will never accept the behavior of gay people.

Source: The New York Times February 3, 2017

Colombia and the Rebels

The fifty-year war in Columbia has ended. The government and the FARC rebels signed a treaty. The treaty is now in effect. What is

What peace can look like in Colombia.

What peace can look like in Colombia.

There is a test case in the town of La Paz. Can old enemies become new friends?

About 80 of the rebels live in La Paz. They are shedding their uniforms and dropping their weapons. They are moving into houses for the first time.

The people of the town have bitter memories. Forgiveness will not come easy. Everyone is watching. Suspicion is still common. FARC has said it would become a political party. Its members would run for office.

There are parts of the area where the land is not good for farming. Officials hope to bring housing and electricity will in those places. Right now, the two sides still are feeling each other out. A return to war is not an option. But a coming together is also not a foregone conclusion.

Source: The New York Times February 4, 2017

Myanmar and the Rohingyas

A Rohingya refugee camp.

A Rohingya refugee camp.

The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority in a Hindu nation. The government of Myanmar often attacks the Rohingyas. Some Rohingya militants attacked a Myanmar police station.

A United Nations report just come out. It condemned the government of Myanmar. It did so in the strongest terms. It said what was happening to the Rohingyas is a“Campaign of Terror.” The report called the attacks bordering on war crimes.

The attacks forced as many as 90,000 people from their homes.

The U.N. commissioner appealed to the president of the country. The president is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a well-respected leader. The U.N. official said the president listened and said she would start an inquiry.

The commissioner said the answer is an international tribunal. The situation remains dire.

Source: The New York Times February 6, 2017

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