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Ghana official falsely claims ‘no known record’ of anti-gay violence; anti-LGBTQ attacks persist

Anti-LGBTQ violence continued in Ghana after the nation’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice deceptively claimed before a U.N. Human Rights Council panel that “There is no known record of the infliction of violence in Ghana against LGBTQI+ persons”.

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Godfred Yeboah Dame, Ghana’s attorney general and minister of justice. (Photo courtesy of GhanaWeb)

The LGBTQ+ rights group Rightify Ghana  listed several human rights abuses and homophobic attacks that show the falsehood of the statement by Godfred Yeboah Dame, Ghana’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Those included:

The 21 activists who were detained for three weeks by police on suspicion of promoting an LGBT+ agenda at an unlawful assembly are escorted by police officers out the court after their bail hearing at the Ho court in Ho, Ghana, in June 2021. (Francis Kokoroko photo courtesy of Reuters)

However, Rightify Ghana was muted in its criticism of the Attorney General because he has also distanced himself from the anti-LGBTQ+ bill that’s currently awaiting action in Parliament. That bill has been labeled the “worst anti-LGBTQ bill ever”.

Although he claimed that anti-LGBTQ violence doesn’t exist in Ghana, the Attorney General spoke out against it,  saying, “Ghana is committed to ensuring the protection of all persons from violence. As indicated, the state prohibits all forms of violence and brutality targeted at any group of persons in Ghana, including all minority groups.”

Rightify Ghana issued a statement that welcomed his “commitment to LGBTQI+ rights” and called for concrete action to combat violence and discrimination.

Its appeal was echoed by representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom addressing the U.N. panel in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan. 24, who urged the Ghana parliament to reject the types of discrimination contained in the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

Since the session, further anti-LGBTQ+ violence has continued.

Davis Mac-Iyalla was guarded by police during the installation ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Graphic.com.gh)

Last weekend, West African LGBTQ+ rights activist Davis Mac-Iyalla was attacked  as he took part in a ceremony installing him as a chief in central Ghana.

Rightify Ghana stated:

“It’s January 31, 2023 and it’s still dangerous to be identified as LGBTQI+ person or activist in Ghana. A prominent activist, Davis Mac-Iyalla, who lives in Ghana, is currently facing an attack which has put his life in danger. …  the framing of the story by the media has focused on his work as an LGBTQI+ human rights defender and this has led to verbal lynching in both traditional and new media space. As someone who always opened his doors to welcome all persons, he is not safe at his home.”

Mac-Iyalla said, ” I am not okay, its been a national attack because of the media. I feel very unsafe.”

One observer stated that Mac-Iyalla “supports human rights which includes LGBTQ++ and the youths were displeased so they deliberately ousted him from the palanquin. The whole town is against him for taking that stand on this subject.”

In the wake of the attack on Mac-Iyalla, the area’s traditional council stated that they had not known that he was a gay-rights activist. 

They added that  “the information only got to the chiefs in the middle of the coronation, for which reason they ended the traditional process abruptly” and  so “the chieftaincy title was not conferred on Mr Iyalla.”

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.