On the unsaid of Africa today, we will be delving into the recommendations accepted by Ghana at the United Nations Human Rights Council-Universal Periodic Review (UNHRC-UPR) in reference to the protection of LGBTI persons in Ghana.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides Equal Protection of the law and prohibits discrimination to all persons including lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people (LGBTI). The Constitution also guarantees the right to privacy, personal liberty, and respect for human dignity as fundamental human rights.
Despite these provisions being made by the constitution to protect ALL people under the constitution, Ghana, a country in West Africa; one that is seemingly peaceful with hospitable people seem to become the contrary when members of the LGBT+ are concerned.
Ghana, with most of its people being religious, ironically somewhat promotes violence and discrimination towards members of the LGBT+.
In fact, within the last 5 years, there have been more than 200 reported cases of either discrimination or violence against LGBTI persons. In 2018 alone, there have been at least over 120 reported cases of violence/discrimination against LGBTI people in Ghana, the highest after the universal periodic review which was just a year on. Many gays and lesbians have had their privacy breached, beaten and lynched in Ghana while offenders have gone free. When offenders are caught, it is done so subtly almost in a way to avoid a deterrent effect on Ghanaians. Attacking a gay or lesbian in Ghana has been normalized and hardly spoken against,even by religious,cultural and political leaders.
Violence and discrimination seem to be something that will soon become a thing of the past in Ghana. Ghana has made it clear that she is NOT supporting or encouraging homosexuality by turning down some recommendations but she stands by the constitution and humanity to protect all human beings(Ghanaians) under the laws of Ghana from ill treatment and discrimination.
In the pursuit of this, Ghana accepted these recommendations at the
United Nations Human Rights Council-Universal Periodic Review (UNHRC-UPR) and they are as follows;
146.59 “Take the steps necessary to protect lesbian, gay, bisexuals, Transgender and intersection persons from violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.
146.60 “Ensure that victims of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity has access to rehabilitation and remedy and that all perpetrators are punished”.
146.61 “Take measures to fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Ms Gifty Twum Ampofo, a Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said there was the need to ensure the proper mainstreaming of these recommendations into national planning system to ensure effective implementation and tracking of successes.
That, she said, would make for easy compilation of national report and effective monitoring.
Ms Ampofo congratulated the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Department for getting Cabinet’s approval for the Inter-Ministerial National Mechanism for Reporting and follow-up of recommendations of the UPR of the Human Rights Council.
Ms Ampofo said that was a critical step in ensuring a successful implementation of the recommendations of the UPR.