An official in Ghana has called for the immediate arrest of all gays and lesbians in the nation’s Western Region. The order came from Paul Evans Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, and is drawing widespread support from other politicians as well as Ghana’s conservative religious leaders.
Speaking to radio station Joy FM on July 20, Aidoo disputed a recent estimation that Ghana’s gay and lesbian population totals 8,000. “I donít believe it; nobody believes it. We do not see them,” he said, adding, “All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in society.”
These efforts include recruiting law enforcement agencies, such as Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations, to track down and arrest suspected gays and lesbians. Aidoo has also asked ordinary citizens to report anyone they believe might be involved in a same-sex relationship.
Once arrested, Joy News reports, gay and lesbian Ghanaians “will be hauled before court to test the strength of the law, which frowns upon homosexuality.”
Currently, Ghana’s constitution does not extend human rights or legal protections based on sexual orientation. In fact, its criminal code contains a clause prohibiting “unnatural carnal knowledge.” This ambiguous phrase reflects a pervasive homophobia cultivated within Ghana’s religious communities. According to Joy News, the Western Region has recently played host to a series of anti-gay protests staged by Muslims and Christians. Protesters derided same-sex relationships as “ungodly” and “demonic.”
“This detestable and abominable act, if passed into law in Ghana, will bring the wrath of God upon the nation and the consequences will be unbearable,” said the Christian Counsel of Ghana’s Rev. Fred Deegbe, speaking at a July 18 press conference and quoted in The Examiner.
This proposed “round up” of gays and lesbians in Ghana follows a disturbing trend of LGBT persecution in Africa. In Uganda, a now-infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill called for the execution of repeat offenders. The “Kill the Gays” Bill, as it is commonly known, is still being supported by Uganda’s Minister of Parliament.
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