The advocacy group LGBT+ Rights Ghana yesterday appealed to Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo for protection.
A letter to Akufo-Addo from Alex Kofi Donkor, the director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, stated that “LGBTQ+ Ghanaians’ existence is being threatened by the colonial residue of homophobia and bigotry.”
He asked Akufo-Addo “with humility” to oppose proposals in parliament to impose “sanctions against an oppressed minority group like ours.”
The letter said that the president, as a human rights lawyer, understands the implications of the current situation in regard to “erasure, security and freedom” of LGBTQ+ citizens of Ghana.
LGBT+ Rights Ghana is still reeling from a Feb. 24 police raid on their new offices and safe house. In the wake of the raid, anti-gay Ghanaian politicians and celebrities called for a crackdown on sexual minorities in Ghana. In waponaw, gay-friendly celebrities spoke out in defense of the Ghanaian LGBTQ+ community.
Donkor’s letter cited many recent human rights abuses — abuse because a soldier could not determine a person’s gender, kidnappings of suspected LGBTQ people, forced marriages and “corrective rapes” of queer women, blackmail, beatings and lynchings.
LGBT+ RIghts Ghana is not seeking approval for same-sex civil unions, he wrote.
“My President,” he wrote, “our plea … is to feel safe.” The LGBTQ+ community, he added, is “asking that the state protects us from harm.”
A 2017 interview of Akufo-Addo by the Al Jazeera network gave the LGBTQ+ community hope that he would be supportive, because he projected the eventual end of Ghana’s anti-gay laws.
“Akufo-Addo offered opinions on everything from the state of democracy in his country to child marriage and Donald Trump. But of all the topics covered in the 25-minute segment, it was his responses to a series of questions on LGBT rights that seemed to attract the most attention, at least domestically.
“Ghana’s criminal code outlaws same-sex sexual acts, grouping them under a category of offenses referred to as ‘unnatural carnal knowledge.’ When asked by the interviewer, Jane Dutton, why the law remained on the books, Akufo-Addo said he did not believe ‘a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged’ to make public opinion more favorable toward LGBT Ghanaians. He went on to say that such a change was ‘bound to happen,’ and that it would be brought into effect by ‘the activities of individuals [and] groups’ in a process similar to what he described having witnessed decades ago as a student in England.”
The letter called on the president and other local leaders to “heed to the message of love, tolerance and solidarity that our scriptures and traditions uphold.”
In a concluding appeal to Akufo-Addo, Donkor pleaded, “We ask that you remember your oath to serve all manner of persons, and to protect all persons under your charge.”