Thursday , 9 February 2023

Protect rights of journalists and LGBTQ+ persons – UK, US urge Ghana

Government has been urged by the United Kingdom and the United States of America to protect the rights of minority groups including the LGBTQ plus community.

The two super powers expressed concerns regarding the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill currently being considered by Parliament.

The concerns were raised when the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame briefed the United Nation’s Human Rights Council on Ghana’s efforts towards protecting human rights during Ghana’s human rights record review on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

The UK delegation was also concerned about the attacks on journalists in Ghana.

“We are encouraged by discussions in Ghana’s Parliament on abolishing the death penalty and we also know Ghana’s commitment to free speech and urge them to uphold this by addressing threats to journalists.

“We are also concerned by reports of violence towards and criminalization of LGBTQ+ individuals. We recommend Ghana to halt those who harm, intimidate or harass journalists to account and uphold international human rights obligations including protecting rights for LGTB+ people,” the delegation from the United Kingdom noted.

Speaking shortly after the UK delegation, the US delegation recommended to Ghana to avoid all forms of discrimination particularly against LGBTQ+ persons.

“We recommend Ghana to promote the human rights of all persons in Ghana, including LGBTQ+ persons by opposing all discriminatory legislations for everything discrimination, based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression of sex characteristics and effectively implementing existing laws and policies that are consistent with the fundamental freedoms expressed in the Ghanaian constitution.”

Responding to these concerns by the two countries, Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame said “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.”

He stressed that Ghana’s media has been a “free independent and pluralistic” one, which is “ever highly critical” and allows “free comment and publish on virtually any topic at all uncensored.”   

Ghana is one of the States to be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the fourth time on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

Ghana’s first, second and third UPR reviews took place in May 2008, October 2012 and November 2017, respectively.

The documents on which the reviews are based are information provided by the State under review; information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities.

The last is information provided by other stakeholders, including national human rights institutions, regional organizations, and civil society groups.

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