GDX condemns threats posted against LGBTI group in Ghana
Given the fact that in most countries identifying as LGBTI is illegal, LGBTI persons already form part of the minority group. By virtue of the LGBTI community being part of the minority groups, the movement holds regular conferences to strategize on how to continue advocating for equitable recognition and inclusion of the needs and rights of LGBTI rights. Such conferences are held in various countries, and the current country of interest to host an LGBTI conference is Ghana under the leadership of the Pan Africa ILGA.
However, it is with severe disappointment that GDX as the Human Rights and regional advocacy body in Southern Africa strongly condemns leaders of the resolution passed by the National Coalition of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values in Ghana. GDX is a Transgender organisation that advocates transgender rights in Southern Africa and Africa as a whole. Transgender persons are part of the LGBTI community thus it becomes our concern when the community’s lives are threatened. Coalition leaders have posted threats against the upcoming LGBTI conference saying it will not take place. These leaders are calling upon the government not to grant visas to international LGBTI members so that they do not enter Ghana. “It is illegal in Ghana; how can you have such a conference here in Ghana? It will not happen trust me. In 2001 they said it will happen, but did it happen? Even in those days, we were not organised what makes you think now that we are organised, they can have it done when you know that the law prohibits it? You cannot promote it”.
Same so-called traditional leaders urge the government to develop a policy which denies people freedom of choice through disbanding their associations in Ghana. LGBTI identifying persons are at risk of attacks as per this statement: “We want to know their collaborators here in Ghana, there are some in the media involved in it and have been paid to talk. There some politicians who are backing them, some close to power and some in opposition… But to say that they are going to hold a conference, it will not happen.”. This leaves LGBTI persons in fear and restriction of the right to liberty and freedom of association. Hence contrary to the Human rights principles. It should be recalled that Ghana had declared its instance regards to persecution on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2016. “In June 2016, during the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the official delegation of the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations in Geneva affirmed that Ghanaian law prohibits persecution and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity”[i]. Thus, we expect the government to condemn such careless statements being made.
GDX is also surprised at the name of the coalition itself because it already suggests oppression (the National Coalition of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values). According to us, all human rights are proper and do not need to be amended according to personal interests, especially of those perpetrating against the same rights. Therefore, GDX strongly feels the lives of LGBTI persons is in danger and hence they are more vulnerable to deaf apart from lack of freedom of movement and association in Ghana. As an advocacy organisation that believes in the dignity of all people, GDX wishes to convey its profound disappointment to such leaders who tremble on other people’s lives and tarnishes the image of their country to the international community through adhering to false and traditional beliefs which have no foundation. We encourage our colleagues in Ghana to stay strong against this. This only shows how far we are in terms of achieving fair inclusion of all people regardless of their gender identities and sexual orientation. Hence more work for LGBTI movements across the world, and this advocacy should start from individual level. At this point, we are closely looking at the reaction/response from the government of Ghana and we hope it won’t submit to the Coalition’s request.
The struggle continues….