On 25 February 2021, Access Chapter 2 calls on Allies and Diplomatic community to stand with the Ghanaian LGBTI community. AC2 is concerned that there is immense silence about the barbaric acts of a homophobic campaigner, Moses Foh-Amoaning who on the 11th February 2021 prompted the closure of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) Centre in Ghana, Accra. The individuals running the newly opened centre were arrested by officials on 19 February 2021. The Ghanaian Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) intervened in the matter and professed support for the views and actions of Foh-Amoaning. GCBC publicly declared that “homosexuality is an abominable practice”. GCBC demanded the government of Ghana to close the LGBTI+ Centre.
Across Africa, colonial laws and customs that discriminate towards LGBTI+ people continue to open doors for all kinds of discrimination and forms of persecutions. Ghana is a common-wealth state where homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by law. The human rights of homosexual people are disregarded by both the state and its citizens.
There are multiple reasons why homophobia persists despite advocacy efforts. There is a lack of political will or support from the state to support LGBTI+ rights and end hate crime and discrimination. The notions and assertions that homosexuality goes against the scriptures of the bible, “unAfrican” or inconsistent with African culture and norms create a sentiment that promotes stigma. Homosexuality is met with biases associated with race, class, economic status, culture, and social origin. Strong anti-gay views and legislation force many LGBTI+ persons to stay in the closest or risk their lives and reputation for living their truth causing a mental strain on livelihood and wellbeing.
GCBC together and Foh-Amoaning have acted in a manner that is inhuman by exposing LGBTI+ persons to scrutiny and further stigma and discrimination in their communities. They have unjustly removed a public platform that would have allowed LGBTI+ persons to seek help without so much as disrupting the broader community. In 2019, Pope Francis urged the Church to adopt tolerance and a non-judgmental approach when it comes to LGBTI+ persons. GCBC is visibility trampling these recommendations. The Church and Government create barriers for LGBTI+ persons in Ghana by using their influence and positions of power. As a result, efforts towards ending unfair discrimination and violence towards LGBTI+ become more difficult.
We call for:
- International and national human rights organizations and diplomatic community to quickly intervene on this matter;
- Government of Ghana to protect the human rights of all people;
- South African Government to stand in Solidarity with LGBTI people in Africa and call out member states of AU who don’t respect the Human Rights of all citizens of Africa;
- South African Government to appoint a Special Envoy in the region on Human Rights and LGBTI issues;
- DIRCO to ensure that the SA Ambassador to Ghana facilitates safety of the activists negotiates peace and security of the LGBTI people in Ghana;
- Religious leaders to challenges the fundamentalism that perpetuate stigma, discrimination and prejudice that exposes LGBTI community to violence and abuse.
LGBTI+ organizations and allies across the world need to stand in solidarity and fight for the justice of persons who have been arrested in this matter for trying to improve the lives of LGBTI+ persons. Lastly, we question the efforts of the African Union regarding Resolution 275: Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. What is being done in Africa to protect LGBTI+ persons? And in the quest of creating a united Africa, would in the future ignore the citizens in their diversities.
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