LGBTI Persons in Ghana Have the Right to Health Care and Freedom of Association

Published: June 13, 2011

In the middle of a flood of reporting against homosexuality in Ghana’s media, the Vice President of Ghana, H. E. John Dramani Mahama, told the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS that MSM (men who have sex with men) must be included in Ghana’s approach to fighting HIV/AIDS. He acknowledged that "cultural hostility to this group makes it most unwilling to disclose this sexual orientation." Lawyer and former Member of Parliament John Ndebugri is challenging homosexuals in Ghana to go to the Supreme Court to enforce their right to freedom of association.

The outpouring of anti-LGBTI sentiment in Ghana’s media started after the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) reported on 8,000 MSM registered at a workshop funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In his plenary speech at the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS, Vice President H. E. John Dramani Mahama told delegates that it was essential to include MSM in Ghana’s strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.

But there are new challenges. Statistics on MSM (Men who have sex with Men) are unreliable or generally unavailable. Cultural hostility to this group makes most unwilling to disclose this sexual orientation. But rough estimates put prevalence in this group at also about 25%.

This is much higher than the national average and we need to deal with it especially because it is estimated that 65% of MSM are bisexual, and could create multidirectional spread…
Let me on behalf of the government and people of Ghana thank our partners for the immense support they have extended in achieving the success we have made in rolling back the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I wish to particularly express appreciation to the Global Fund, the US government through PEPFAR, the Danish government through DANIDA and the German government through GIZ for the tremendous assistance they have extended and continue to extend to Ghana’s National Response.
You can listen to the speech at the UN 2011 High-Level Meeting on AIDS website.

With the many calls in Ghana’s media to clamp down on homosexuality, lawyer and former Member of Parliament John Ndebugri is challenging homosexuals in Ghana to go to the Supreme Court to enforce their right to freedom of association.

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