Ghana rights group warns of anti-gay crackdown

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[JURIST] The Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana (CEPEHRG) [advocacy website] warned Friday that the nation is on the verge of an “anti-gay hate campaign,” following reports of government-endorsed anti-gay sentiments. A spokesperson for the CEPEHRG said that the nation’s largely underground LGBT community is in a panic [Reuters report] over recent remarks by Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo [official profile], who is also a member of parliament. In June, Aidoo called for investigations [MyJoyOnline report] into homosexuals living in Ghana, stating that Ghana’s intelligence agency the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Ghana Health Service and other non-government agencies were working together on the issue. On Wednesday, Aidoo suggested that soon the government will be arresting all homosexuals [MyJoyOnline report] via the BNI. Aidoo encouraged landlords to inform on tenants they see engaged in homosexual activity and criticized the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) [advocacy websites] for not revealing the names of approximately 8,000 homosexual men registered with their organization. Homosexuality is currently a misdemeanor under Ghana’s criminal code, but several legal professionals in Ghana have opined that the law would not hold if tested in the Supreme Court.

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] passed [JURIST report] the “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity” resolution [text, PDF] with a vote of 23-19 and 3 abstentions [UN webcast archive]. All African nations involved voted against the resolution except for South Africa, where gay marriage is legalized. As of the 2011 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) [advocacy website] State-Sponsored Homophobia report [text, PDF], 76 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships, and five enforce the death penalty against homosexuals.

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