|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
A recent march by over a thousand Ghanian Muslims against “the growing activities of gays and lesbians” in this West-African country, could hamper initiatives that target Men having sex with Men (MSM), such as HIV and Aids interventions, activists have warned.
Mac-Darling Cobbinahof the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana, an organisation that also caters for the MSM community said, following a march that went through principal streets of the Metropolis against homosexuality, after an alleged report that close to 60 gays and lesbians from eastern, Ashanti and Central regions of that country were attending a get-together held in Tanokrom.
Mac-Darling said this march has raised fears among the MSM community and this could make it hard to reach them since they would not want to be visible.
“Already they are becoming uninterested to access services because they fear what might happen to them”, he said.
He pointed out that the growing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in many parts of Ghana and the sudden “deep interest” by the media to “dig” for lesbian and gay issues could have sparked the anti-gay march.
“Gay people are more visible in their communities and in clubs now more than before”, he added.
Reports state that the march was organised by rally leader, Saeed Hamid, who told fellow protestors that “Ghana will suffer more than the experience of Sodom and Gomorrah, should we embrace this practice in this country.”
The Ghanaian constitution affirms and protects all human rights for Ghanian citizens and this contradicts the Criminal Code 1960 – Chapter 6, Sexual Offences Article 105, which criminalises homosexual behavior amongst gay men. There is no law in Ghana that prohibits homosexual acts between women.
In 2006 the Ghanaian government banned an LGBTI conference, scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Information Minister, Kwamena Bertels said such a gathering could not be permitted
because unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal under the Ghanian criminal code.
“Homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality are therefore offences under the laws of Ghana”, Bertels said.