Press Release on Homosexuality in Ghana
by Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana
Accra, 3rd August, 2011 - The Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (CAHG) is a group
of organizations and individuals that aims to counter ongoing attacks against homosexuals in Ghana. The Coalition supports
the Human Rights of all Human beings including Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in the country.
The Coalition has been paying close attention to the discussion in the print and broadcast media regarding the
allegedly increasing numbers of homosexuals in Ghana. In these discussions, religious, political, and traditional leaders,
as well as media pundits have condemned homosexuality as a threat to national security, as pathological, as un-African,
and/or as ungodly. Instead of coming out with practical programs and activities to help deal with the issues
associated with human sexuality - including homosexuality and bisexuality - reports are flying virtually
every day on front pages of newspapers, promoting fear and hatred against homosexuality.
Recently, the President, John Evans Atta Mills, denounced homosexuality and promised to take steps,
although unspecified, to combat it. Thus, it is no surprise that in this context, the Western Region Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo,
made an order for the "immediate arrest of all homosexuals in the (Western) region" last week according to Myjoyonline.com.
CAHG vehemently denounces these types of sensationalist, unfounded, and bigoted attacks against
LGBT Ghanaians, who are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons of Ghanaian families just like any other
Ghanaians. LGBT people are in every conceivable walk of life and have existed throughout history. Contrary to
unsubstantiated and speculative remarks that homosexuals are "evil", "filthy", and "ungodly", LGBT people
are our family members, co-workers, worshippers, taxpayers, voters, media people, pastors and lovers
who deserve the same rights and protection under the Ghanaian Constitution as anyone else.
Unfortunately, a few people with religious, political, and institutional power continue to use their privilege to perpetuate
hate and violence against homosexuals with the support of the criminal code 1960, Act 29, which criminalizes "unnatural carnal
knowledge"--ironically a "western" concept imported to Ghana during British colonization of the country. If these
anti-homosexual forces care about the future of Ghana, then the coalition calls on them to do something about
issues that actually pose a threat to Ghana's future such as poverty, women's rights, class inequalities,
environmental destruction, educational rights, and job opportunities. Addressing such issues would be
more productive for the country than utilizing fear- mongering tactics to divide Ghanaian people
from their LGBT family members and colleagues.
Although the international community has not said much on the issue to date, HIV prevention experts and human rights activist
from different parts of the world have come out to allay the attacks against LGBT people. The Coalition urges Ghanaians
harbouring hostility against LGBT people to "judge not lest ye be judged" and set aside their animosities for the good
of the country and its diverse citizenry.
In view of this situation, the Coalition members have made themselves available to respond to all questions, queries, enquiries
and contributions relating to issues around LGBT sexual rights, health, and socio economic well being in Ghana. The Coalition
is ready to open its doors to the local and international media and all those who want accurate information on LGBT issues,
so that some of the misperceptions will be diffused and media backlash stopped. The Coalition has among its objectives to
create a friendly rapport between the media and the LGBT community and also educate people to respect the rights of LGBT
people's privacy and human dignity, which is a vital part of fundamental human rights.
As United Nations Secretary -General Ban Ki-moon recently declared:
"I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practices cannot justify
any violation of human rights.. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,
we must speak out.States bears the primary responsibility to protect the human rights of all its citizens".
CAHG calls on the government and the good people of Ghana to condemn the ongoing attacks and to support the
rights of LGBT Ghanaians before our country becomes a pariah state like Uganda and Zimbabwe. The current state of affairs
disgraces Ghana's image internationally and calls negative attention to its human rights practices. Further it creates
an environment where no one is safe to be themselves due to fear that someone might suspect they are homosexual.
With the help of our local and African Regional allies of Human Rights Defenders, the Coalition will continue
to organize against any efforts by hateful groups, institutions, and individuals to demean, blackmail,
arrest, or violently assault LGBT individuals, ironically in the name of God or any other religion.
We invite everyone who supports the human rights and dignity of all human beings, irrespective of
their sexual orientation or gender identity, to join the fight against homophobia in Ghana.
We encourage all to channel any inquiries to our email for further information.
"CAHG stands firm with all the LGBT people in Ghana as they struggle to maintain their freedom and dignity."
The Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana
For general inquiries, you can reach us at:
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 1505
New York, NY 10038
Our Buenos Aires office is located at:
Av. Callo 339 Piso 5
Our Cape Town office is located at:
66 Plein Street
Source: IGLHRC: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Reproduced with permission - "(IGLHRC)INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION "
(IGLHRC) INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION