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General News of Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Source: 3 News

Human Rights Watch steps up campaign to legalise homosexuality in Ghana

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The president and other state institutions are being pressured by international NGO, Human Rights Watch, to take “necessary steps” to amend Ghana’s constitution and legalise homosexuality.

The group specifically wants Section 104 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, which criminalises unnatural carnal knowledge, to be amended.

This would “ensure that sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are not considered a misdemeanor and not punishable by law,” Human Rights Watch said in a report to be released in Accra on Monday.

The report is titled “‘No Choice but to Deny Who I Am’ Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Ghana”. It is based on interviews conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 in four regional capitals in Ghana including Accra and Kumasi.

The human rights organisation is breathing on President Akufo-Addo to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons against all forms of discrimination, intimidation and violence.

The report asked the president to “publicly condemn all threats and acts of violence” against homosexuals.

Pushing for increased awareness on the need to accept LGBT people, the pressure group is demanding that President Akufo-Addo “holds accountable all public officials who make homophobic statements.

“Propose comprehensive legislation that prohibits all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

State institutions such as the Ghana Police Service, Parliament, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and Ministry of Justice and Attorney General were also called to play their part in decriminalising homosexuality.

“Amend Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms to include a specific prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the Human Rights Watch told Parliament in the report.

The legislature is also expected to “Introduce legislative and policy measures to prevent, protect, punish and provide effective remedies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals who are victims of violence on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation and gender identity and ensure enjoyment of their constitutional rights to equality and non-discrimination.”

The report comes barely two months after President Akufo-Addo had expressed fears that pressure groups could force the government to decriminalise homosexuality.

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