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Vice president Mahama.
Ghana : LGBTI Persons Have the Right to Health Care and Freedom of Association

in GHANA,

In the middle of a flood of reporting against homosexuality in Ghana's media, the Vice President of Ghana, H. E. John Dramani Mahama, told the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS that MSM (men who have sex with men) must be included in Ghana's approach to fighting HIV/AIDS.

H.E. John Dramani Mahama acknowledged that "cultural hostility to this group makes it most unwilling to disclose this sexual orientation." Lawyer and former Member of Parliament John Ndebugri is challenging homosexuals in Ghana to go to the Supreme Court to enforce their right to freedom of association.

The outpouring of anti-LGBTI sentiment in Ghana's media started after the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) reported on 8,000 MSM registered at a workshop funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In his plenary speech at the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS, Vice President H. E. John Dramani Mahama told delegates that it was essential to include MSM in Ghana's strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.

But there are new challenges. Statistics on MSM (Men who have sex with Men) are unreliable or generally unavailable. Cultural hostility to this group makes most unwilling to disclose this sexual orientation. But rough estimates put prevalence in this group at also about 25%.

This is much higher than the national average and we need to deal with it especially because it is estimated that 65% of MSM are bisexual, and could create multidirectional spread...

Let me on behalf of the government and people of Ghana thank our partners for the immense support they have extended in achieving the success we have made in rolling back the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I wish to particularly express appreciation to the Global Fund, the US government through PEPFAR, the Danish government through DANIDA and the German government through GIZ for the tremendous assistance they have extended and continue to extend to Ghana's National Response.

You can listen to the speech at the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS website.

With the many calls in Ghana's media to clamp down on homosexuality, lawyer and former Member of Parliament John Ndebugri is challenging homosexuals in Ghana to go to the Supreme Court to enforce their right to freedom of association.

Lawyer and former Member of Parliament for Zebila, John Ndebugri is challenging homosexuals in Ghana to go to the Supreme Court to enforce their right to freedom of association.

He threw the challenge to gays and lesbians on Citi Fm’s Saturday political talk program ‘The Big Issues’.

The subject of homosexuality came to the fore after news broke that some 8, 000 homosexuals had been registered in 2 regions with majority of them infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS.

The worrying aspect of the report was the fact that the homosexuals registered included students in junior and senior high schools (JHS/SHS), the polytechnics and workers.

Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye recently on Citi Fm, waded into the controversial subject where he called for a closure of all homosexual joints in the country intimating that the issue flies in the face of the country’s constitution.

But the former Zebila MP believes homosexuals like any other person are entitled to their naturally freedoms of association and no legislation should take that away from them.

He said “let us look at the definition of homosexuality very carefully, it has to do with feeling and as far as I am concerned, feeling is natural and I do not think that we can easily legislate against people’s feelings, you can not legislate that I stop liking T.Z (tou zaafi – a local dish), I’m afraid you can’t do that.

"They have rights under article 21-C of the constitution which says that ‘all persons have the right to freedom of association which shall include freedom to form or join trade unions or other associations national and international for the protection of their interest’.

"So those who are involved in homosexuality who think that it is right to do what they are doing come under this article.

"They must go to the Supreme Court to declare their rights openly and it will help us resolve this debate. It there is an international association of lesbians, they have a right to form a local branch”.
 

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