LGBTQ+ Rights Ghana appeals for help from President Akufo-Addo

The advocacy group LGBT+ Rights Ghana today appealed to Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo for protection.

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Nana Akufo-Addo, president of Ghana (Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera/YouTube)

A letter to Akufo-Addo from Alex Kofi Donkor, the director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, stated that “LGBTQ+ Ghanaians’ existence is being threatened by the colonial residue of homophobia and bigotry.”

He asked Akufo-Addo “with humility” to oppose proposals in parliament to impose “sanctions against an oppressed minority group like ours.”

The letter said that the president, as a human rights lawyer, understands the implications of the current situation in regard to “erasure, security and freedom” of LGBTQ+ citizens of Ghana.

LGBT+ Rights Ghana is still reeling from a Feb. 24 police raid on their new offices and safe house. In the wake of the raid, anti-gay Ghanaian politicians and celebrities called for a crackdown on sexual minorities in Ghana. In waponaw, gay-friendly celebrities spoke out in defense of the Ghanaian LGBTQ+ community.

Donkor’s letter cited many recent human rights abuses — abuse because a soldier could not determine a person’s gender, kidnappings of suspected LGBTQ people, forced marriages and “corrective rapes” of queer women, blackmail, beatings and lynchings.

LGBT+ RIghts Ghana is not seeking approval for same-sex civil unions, he wrote.

“My President,” he wrote, “our plea … is to feel safe.” The LGBTQ+ community, he added, is “asking that the state protects us from harm.”

A 2017 interview of Akufo-Addo by the Al Jazeera network gave the LGBTQ+ community hope that he would be supportive, because he projected the eventual end of Ghana’s anti-gay laws.

As World Politics Review reported:

“Akufo-Addo offered opinions on everything from the state of democracy in his country to child marriage and Donald Trump. But of all the topics covered in the 25-minute segment, it was his responses to a series of questions on LGBT rights that seemed to attract the most attention, at least domestically.

“Ghana’s criminal code outlaws same-sex sexual acts, grouping them under a category of offenses referred to as ‘unnatural carnal knowledge.’ When asked by the interviewer, Jane Dutton, why the law remained on the books, Akufo-Addo said he did not believe ‘a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged’ to make public opinion more favorable toward LGBT Ghanaians. He went on to say that such a change was ‘bound to happen,’ and that it would be brought into effect by ‘the activities of individuals [and] groups’ in a process similar to what he described having witnessed decades ago as a student in England.”

The letter called on the president and other local leaders to “heed to the message of love, tolerance and solidarity that our scriptures and traditions uphold.”

In a concluding appeal to Akufo-Addo, Donkor pleaded, “We ask that you remember your oath to serve all manner of persons, and to protect all persons under your charge.”

The LGBT+ RIghts Ghana letter to President Akufo-Addo is here: Page 1, Page 2, and Page 3.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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