- Attacks on LGBTQI persons increased, presence of violent homophobic groups in multiple towns
- Anti-LGBTQ comments from traditional authorities partly blamed for the rise in attacks
- Homophobic group threatened Rightify Ghana director during talks to get a victim released
Information from both victims and paralegals have indicated that Mim, Goaso, Wenchi, Sunyani, Nkoranza and Techiman, as well as Tepa which is located in the Ashanti region but by proximity is near some of these areas in Bono Ahafo, Bono East and Ahafo regions, have recorded troubling rise in abuse cases against LGBTQ persons.
Many blackmailers and anti-LGBTQ persons (including organised violent groups, normally about 3-5 persons in number) continue to use social media to lure and harm gay persons. Whilst these hate crimes were usually recorded at places in Accra (Christian Village and nearby communities) and Kumasi (Asuofia, Barekese road), it is now wide spread in many Ghanaian cities and towns.
According to a victim’s account, the four (4) men who beat and robbed him two weeks ago at Mim in the Ahafo region, showed him several videos of how they had abused their previous victims.
They also disclosed their links to other violent anti-LGBTQ groups in some towns; telling him that “they are our friends” and also mentioned to him the names of persons who beat up a gay person at Techiman, and which the videos of the violent attack was released on social media.
In negotiating for the release of the victim, the Executive Director of Rightify Ghana was threatened by the violent anti-LGBTQ group at Mim. A man believed to be the leader of the group said, “you are part of them, eh? We know you are also gay.” He went on to tell another member of the group that, “hey save his number and let’s go after him later.”
In an attempt to show that they were not afraid of the police, the same man said, “if you like, we can send you our location.” The group used the victim’s phone and number or SIM card during this communication and did not return them to him.
Attacks against the LGBTQI+ community in Ghana have increased since last year and the introduction of a far-reaching anti-LGBTQ bill which is currently in Parliament as well as homophobic statements from religious, traditional, political and media personalities, have contributed immensely to the worrying abuse cases. Below are examples of some hate comments from traditional authorities in some parts of Bono and Ahafo regions.
In October 2021, the Chief of Dormaa in the Bono region, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, who is also a Justice of the High Court, came out strongly in support of the anti-LGBTQ bill and also threatened to storm parliament with 10,000 anti-LGBTQI+ people to ensure that the bill is passed.
A Bono youth group also released a statement to back the traditional leader and threatened that “we’re a Bono united behind Dormaahene in this battle for our soul and sovereignty. We’re numbered not only in our tens of thousands but in our millions, snaking about all the streets of Ghana to wage this war.”
Again in the Bono region is the Paramount Chief of the Suma Ahenkro Traditional Area, Odeneho Dr. Affram Brempong III, who doubles as an Elder of the Church of Pentecost in Berekum area and Suma District, who in December 2021 honoured eight (8) lawmakers and the Speaker of Parliament for “championing the true African values” by proposing and sponsoring an anti-LGBTQI bill. Each lawmaker received a golden sword and a citation at a special durbar organised at Suma Ahenkro.
At Nkoranza in the Bono East region, the Traditional Council of the region “banished” a 21-year-old man who was allegedly caught engaging in what they call “homosexual activity.” According to media reports, “he was banished after being ordered to procure some items to appease the gods of the area. The items, which include sheep and Schnapps, were not only to drive away bad omen from the area, but also exorcise the gayism from the young man.” (see images below)
Anti-LGBTQ groups have been emboldened and have cited the bill, religious and cultural beliefs to justify their violent attacks, as per the information provided by some victims.
Those who are aware of some three abuse cases (see screenshots below) and whose videos went viral on social media, may already know that the attacks happened at places in the Bono and Ahafo regions.
Rightify Ghana is by this report calling on human rights organisations to extend community empowerment activities including human rights education, safety and security programmes, mentorship for new activists, as well as engagement with allies and stakeholders to these areas. This is also to call on organisations to direct attention to the northern Ghana in general as they have been underserved.
Below are screenshots from videos of abuse cases that went viral on social media. We have included some descriptions for context.