Sisters of the Heart in partnership with Alliance for Dynamics Initiative have held a one-day stakeholder meeting to dialogue on the need to protect the rights of LBQT persons in Ghana.
The meeting is important because LBTQ persons in Ghana continue to face widespread discrimination and violence.
This contravenes the laws of Ghana(fundamental human rights) and further contravenes the UN-UPRM instruments which Ghana has accepted to take measures to create a safe environment for all persons including LBTQ persons in Ghana.
Last month, a group of men were arrested in Kasoa for luring, beating and robbing suspected Gay men.
In 2017 alone, there were over 200 media reports of abuse and violence against people perceived to be either gay or lesbian.
In recent research conducted by the Africa centre for international law and accountability,
a significant number of Ghanaians (87%) are against allowing LGBTI persons holding public meetings to discuss LGBTI issues. Ninety-one per cent of Moslems are against allowing LGBTIs holding public meetings; Christians (87%), Traditionalists (73.1%); and Atheists (33.3%). Respondents in the Volta Region had the highest approval (19.4%) allowing LBTIs to hold public meetings to discuss LGBTI issues.
In addition, about 13% of Ghanaians will “physically abuse”, “verbally abuse” or “force” an LGBTI to hide his or her identity if they discover a person who is LGBTI. Majority of Ghanaians (45.3%) will “socially shun” an identified LGBTI.
More than 75% of Ghanaians applaud homophobic statements by state officials, religious leaders, or influential people in society. Only 24.5% say homophobic statements should be condemned.
Infact, thirty-six per cent of Ghanaians are of the opinion that LGBTIs should be discriminated against in job search, religious association (10%) and public appointments (9.16%).
More than 54% of Ghanaians say expelling students perceived to be LGBTI should be promoted.
It is these findings and more which require that more and more people are made aware of the rights of all Ghanaians and LBTQ persons included, a project Sisters of the Heart (SOH) and Alliance for Dynamics Initiative have initiated by bringing together CSO'S and government agencies to dialogue on the way forward.
POS Foundation, an ally of the LBTQ commended the organizers of the stakeholder meeting and indicate their full support in the form of conferencing, capacity building and crowdsourcing of funds.
They also said that issues of LBTQ are sensitive, hence civil society and the general public need more education and training in order to create the needed atmosphere for LBTQs in Ghana.
The Commission on Human rights and Administrative Justice assured LBTQs their full support.
They said that LBTQs fall within the "Key Population " whose rights need special attention.
It is in this light that CHRAJ assured the LBTQ and it's allied that their doors are always opened to receive complaints of abuse and violations of the rights of LBTQs in Ghana.
Human Rights Defenders Ghana, an ally of the LGBTIQ community in Ghana indicated that media training will be the best strategy to use because the media is responsible for educating the public.
It is the media which reports cases of abuse and violence against LGBTI persons hence they need to understand the issues surrounding this group of people before they can adequately report on them.
It is expected that the public will be educated more on the rights of citizens and marginalized groups in order to create the needed atmosphere and environment for LBTQ persons in Ghana.
By Redeemer Buatsi
Human Rights Defenders Ghana
Amnesty International- Ghana