(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Section 104 of the Criminal Code of Ghana states:
“Unnatural Carnal Knowledge.
(1) Whoever has unnatural carnal knowledge—
(a) of any person of the age of sixteen years or over without his consent shall be guilty of a first degree felony and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years; or
(b) of any person of sixteen years or over with his consent is guilty of a misdemeanour; or
(c) of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanour.
(2) Unnatural carnal knowledge is sexual intercourse with a person in an unnatural manner or with an animal.”
“Misdemeanour” is defined in Section 296 of the Criminal Procedure Code as a sentence of imprisonment for not more than 3 years.
Evidence of “Unnatural Carnal Knowledge” is defined in Section 99 of the Criminal Code as:
“Whenever, upon the trial of any person for an offence punishable under this Code, it is necessary to prove carnal knowledge or unnatural carnal knowledge, the carnal knowledge or unnatural carnal knowledge shall be deemed complete upon proof of the least degree of penetration.”
This is often interpreted as being the particular piece of legislation that criminalizes homosexual behaviour. As it requires some degree of penetration, it would follow that women who have sex with women are excluded from this list.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE'S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
The laws of Ghana were modelled on the English Legal System after decolonization, and have remained the same ever since. There is no specific mention in the legislation or constitution regarding sexual orientation and discrimination. However section 104 of the Criminal Code outlined above is frequently interpreted to cover homosexual behaviour. That, coupled with Ghana's strong religious influences, means that LGBTI's are often marginalized within societies. As such, there are reports of an ever-growing underground community of homosexuals.
On the 20th of July 2011, Paul Evans Aidoo, a Ghanaian Member of Parliament, called for homosexuals and suspected homosexuals to be arrested and tried under the Ghanaian Criminal Code. It has been denounced by a large number of people, including Mr. Mac-Darling Cobbinah of the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights.
Furthermore, the statement from David Cameron on the 30th of October 2011 threatening to withdraw or minimize financial aid in countries that don’t support basic human rights (especially in relation to rights of homosexuals) has led to a backlash by the Ghanaian president Mr. John Atta-Mills. The Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (CAHG) is worried that this backlash might help to entrench the misconception that homosexuality is unnatural and further marginalize a minority group that is already being attacked by its own government and have the opposite effect and outcome of that desired by the UK.
The effects of being homosexual and/or supporting them are now a matter of public interest in Ghana. As the issue has attracted so much attention over the last decade, it seems that people are less willing now to affiliate themselves with groups or movements that are sympathetic with the plight that homosexuals face there. This is particularly reflected in the lack of organizations willing to provide support (legal and otherwise).
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
CEPEHRG - Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights
15 Fertilizer Street, Teshie Nungua Estate Housing Down, Accra-Ghana
Email: mcobbinahcepehrg [dot] net
Tel: +23 32 44 85 82 34
CEPEHRG is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to create awareness in Ghana about issues relating to human rights - this includes the rights of LGBTI’s and other marginalized sectors of society.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We have no specialist on LGBTI for Ghana, but would welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Shenaz Bharvaney Daswani