The Director of Amnesty International Ghana, Robert Akoto Amoafo has expressed disappointment about the backlash the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community is receiving in the country after a poster with details about an upcoming conference went viral in the media space.
The 5th edition of the Pan Africa ILGA conference on the theme “Sankofa: looking back to our roots- reclaiming our rights” which is scheduled to be held in Accra from July 27 to 31 for the LGBTQ community within the country was not well received by the public.
According to Mr. Amoafo, as far as they are human beings who have rights to assembly, they should not and must not be stopped.
“Once they are human beings and they have the right to association, they are entitled to those rights so they cannot stop them,” he said.
He however noted that, they can only be interrupted if their conference would pose any security risk to the country.
“Unless of course the country says there is a security threat by their coming, therefore they put in place those blocks and engage the people to find out. I don’t think there’s a way of blocking people from holding a meeting unless there’s an imminent effect,” he added.
Mr. Amoafo clearly mentioned that the concern of Amnesty International Ghana is the discrimination the community endures because of their sexuality.
“For amnesty we are not looking at their sexuality, the idea of whether or not they should hold a meeting is what we should be asking ourselves as Ghanaians. Are we saying they can’t have a meeting because they are gay?” he quizzed.
Mr. Amoafo emphatically stated the stance of the constitution on gay rights.
“Our constitution does not criminalize somebody being homosexual, it only criminalizes the activity concerned. So if we are saying that they should not host their conference then we are saying that every group of people who hold a meeting needs to be stopped,” he said.
He further advised other authority figures like Lawyer Francis Amoaning who are strongly opposing the conference to do some checks as it is unfair to the community.
“What we should be looking at is; what issue are they going to discuss? Are the issues they are going to something that will cause harm to us as a country? So I think that those people who are opposing should be ready to find out all of that. For us at Amnesty we are saying that it is not fair for anybody to hold it against somebody for who they are, and when they decide to hold a meeting,” he concluded.