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Citizens for Justice and Peace

LGBT people face violence, discrimination in Ghana: HRW report

11, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report, “‘No Choice but to Deny Who I am’: Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Ghana”. In its announcement on the report’s publication, HRW said that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ghanaians face abuse and discrimination in both the public as well as family contexts. HRW said its report indicates how Section 104(1)(b) of Ghana’s 1960 Criminal Offences Act and the lack of action against discrimination and violence effectively makes LGBT Ghanaians second-class citizens. The section in question bars and penalises “unnatural carnal knowledge”. HRW LGBT researcher Wendy Isaack said, “Having a law on the books that criminalizes adult consensual same-sex conduct contributes to a climate in which LGBT people are frequently victims of violence and discrimination,” adding, “Homophobic statements by local and national government officials, traditional elders, and senior religious leaders foment discrimination and in some cases, incite violence.” HRW conducted interviews with more than 100 LGBT Ghanaians, representatives of human rights groups, and diplomats, among others, its announcement said, noting that while those interviewed said the law “contributes to a climate in which violence and discrimination are common,” the law is rarely used to prosecute people. HRW’s announcement said the group discovered that “dozens of LGBT people have been attacked by mobs or by members of their own families”. The announcement noted that the law is in conflict with Ghana’s constitution, “which guarantees equality before the law, respect for human dignity and the right to privacy,” and also “violates several human rights treaties that Ghana has ratified.” 

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