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General News
Gays addresses Kufuor in UK 3/13/2007
The following letter was delivered by gay rights group OutRage! to President Kufuor of Ghana when he arrived in London on Monday.

It was written in response to requests for protests from Prince Kweku MacDonald, President, Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana (GALAG), and from Mac-Darling Cobbinah Executive/ National Director, Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana.

"Dear President Kufuor,

Welcome to London.

We extend warmest wishes to you and the people of Ghana, on behalf of the lesbian and gay human rights group OutRage!.

We join with you this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence.

We hope that this year, as you celebrate Ghana’s freedom, you will extend that freedom to your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.

Ghana’s continuing criminalisation of homosexuality is a relic of colonialism. This anti-gay law was imposed on the people of Ghana by the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century. It sets Ghanaian against Ghanaian, undermining national unity and dividing people against each other.

The prohibition of consenting adult same-sex relations violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which enshrine the principles of equal rights and non-discrimination for all human beings.

As a free and independent nation, we hope your government will turn its back on the hateful, divisive homophobia of the colonial era.

Specificially, we respectfully urge your government to:

1. Repeal the legislation that criminalises same-sex relations

2. Enact new laws to protect LGBT people against discrimination

3. Include LGBT Ghanaians in your HIV prevention programmes

4. Arrest the perpetrators of homophobic violence and protect the victims

5. Begin a dialogue with the Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana

All Ghanaians should enjoy independence and freedom.

We ask you to support individual liberty: the right of each person to live their own life and make their own choices, providing they do not harm others. A democratic state has no legitimate place in the bedroom, nor should it seek to dictate who people love.

We urge you to follow in the footsteps of the African National Congress government of South Africa, which pioneered Africa’s commitment to the human rights of lesbian and gay people. The ANC embraced gay equality in 1987.

It later ensured that the post-apartheid constitution became the first in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Since then, the ANC government has repealed the apartheid-era anti-gay laws.

We note that the anti-apartheid heroes, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are both strong supporters of lesbian and gay human rights. They are demonstrating inspiring leadership, showing that freedom is for all Africans, not just heterosexual ones.

We also appreciate that Kofi Annan, a great Ghanaian world statesman, defended LGBT human rights when he was United Nations General Secretary. His extension of spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of UN employees signified a clear rejection of homophobic discrimination.

We urge you to affirm in word and deed that every Ghanaian, whatever their sexual orientation, is equal before the law.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell Coordinator, OutRage! London

Kizza Musinguzi African Affairs spokesperson, OutRage! London"


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