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Human Rights

Human Rights (22)

The District Commander for Gomoa Dominase in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region, ASP Paul Ankam, has promised to crack the whip on individuals who defile and impregnate minors in his jurisdiction. The police bemoaned the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the area and attributed it to sexual abuses; a situation he indicated if not curtailed will jeopardize the future of young girls. He made the remarks in an interview with Rainbow Radio’s Nana Yaw Asare at a public forum organized by the district police command for residents in the various communities under the district. According to the commander, sexual violators should not be entertained in the society but be punished by available legal frameworks to serve as deterrent to others. He said, it has become a norm for residents to laugh at others on the premise that they have not been able to put to birth at an early age and so ‘’it has become a status quo for young girls to be impregnated although it violates their fundamental human rights. He was of the view that, young girls should be given the opportunity to have access to quality education to highest level. However, girls in this community are abused by men and get pregnant below 18 years. This is defilement and such men must be punished as law establish. Girls in the area he lamented are unable to claim the academic ladder to the tertiary level and only get the chance to complete junior high school. ‘’We have to punish men who sexually abuse minors. That is why DOVSU was established. Some of the men do not also accept responsibility for their unlawful act and this sometimes have serious negative impact on the young girls.’’ On his part, the Omanhene of Gomoa Akyampim Traditional Area, Obrifo Ahunu Ahor Ankobea II, charged Ghanaians to stop attacking and intimidating the police in other not to discourage them from carrying out their lawful duty in protecting lives and property. Parents on their part supported the District Commander for the bold decision he has taken to ensure that culprits who sexually abuse minors are dealt with. The parents used the opportunity to advise their wards to take their studies serious in order for them to achieve success.
Veteran highlife musician, Rex Omar, has disputed saying that, Ghana will soon legalize homosexuality. He told Prince Kwesi Dadzie aka Mr. Handsome that, he never said Ghana will legalize homosexuality as reported by some media portals. It was widely reported by some news portals that the musician said Ghana will have no option than to legalize homosexuality because it is a choice by those who practice it. But clarifying what he had said in the past, Rex Omar said, we cannot violate the rights of individuals who are homosexuals because that is their choice but I never said we will legalize it. ‘’Let me clear my position and I want Ghanaians to listen attentively. What I said was that, God created human beings. We know that there are some people who appear like men but they are women. We have people who by nature they behave like men although they are women (and vice versa) and so if you should give birth to such a person, will you kill them? ‘’I do not support homosexuality because it is disgusting. We cannot bow under pressure to accept homosexuality because that is not our culture. However, we should always be careful to protect such individuals because there are some people who choose to be homosexuals.’’ He called on Ghanaians to be careful so such individuals are not abused. I am not in support of it but I am speaking based on what I have seen and witnessed. I only said maybe Ghana will legalize it. Maybe can be 100 years or 200 years,’’ he emphasized.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has expressed strong optimism that Ghana in the next ten years, accept the existence of gays, bisexuals, lesbians and the transgender community. The Ambassador taking his turn on the '21 Minutes with KKB' show said the US struggled in the past before granting the rights for same-sex marriage and was hopeful Ghana will do same in the next decade. He was however quick to add that, the US is not impressing upon Ghana to legalize homosexuality but believes the country will accept the community in the next decade. “We are not asking that homosexuality be legalized, I want to be firm about that, I hope that within the next decade or so that every Ghanaian, regardless his sexual orientation will enjoy the same rights and be treated the same way”, he stated. He added: “This is a long process and it was a long process in my country. Homosexual marriage has only become law in recent years and prior to that when I was growing up, nobody talked about homosexuality. Everyone who was gay suffered enormous discrimination and that has changed in the United States because people have a better understanding of the science and issues. I think that as Ghanaians gain a greater understanding of the science and issues, they’ll also be very tolerant because this is a very tolerant country and this is one area where Ghana’s tolerance seems very limited”. He has also stated in the interview that there are far more gays in Ghana than what citizens know of. “I think there are far more gays in Ghana than Ghanaians realize but because of societal attitudes they keep their sexuality very private," the diplomat said as he took his turn in an interaction with GhanaWeb editor Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on '21 minutes with KKB'. “For these socio-cultural issues, I don’t believe that in Ghana so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that much impact on public opinion that will say; change it,” he stated.
Speaker of Parliament for Ghana’s legislative House, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has reiterated that, Ghana the House will not approve of gay rights despite pressure from human rights groups. The Speaker says the arguments raised by these groups are not tenable. Professor Oquaye was addressing a group of religious leaders who paid a courtesy call on him. The renowned man of the gospel said the leadership of parliament will not approve of such rights. “If you tell me that a man must sleep with a man so as to show his human rights for Ghana, I can assure you that our Parliament is a real micropause of the rule of Ghana. Ghanaians do not support gay rights and nobody is going to make any law that will support this kind of thing.”
An Accra High Court (Criminal Division) has ordered the release of the Achimota student who shot and killed his girlfriend last year. Presiding judge, Justice Kofi Dorgu, the trial of the accused exceeded the six months period as stipulated in the Juvenile Act. The court has therefore ordered that the judgment by the Juvenile court be quashed and the accused discharged. According to the judge, there was a miscarriage of justice because the juvenile court delivered a verdict without waiting for a social enquiry report. Section 24—Social Enquiry Report. (1) Where a juvenile is charged with an offence, the juvenile court shall order a social enquiry report to be submitted to the court which shall be taken into account by the court in the making of an order. (2) The social enquiry report shall be prepared by a probation officer who shall visit the home of the juvenile. (3) The social enquiry report shall include particulars on the background of the juvenile, the present circumstances of the juvenile, the conditions under which the offence was committed and recommendations for sentence. (4) The social enquiry report may include a recommendation that the matter before the juvenile court be referred to a child panel established under the Children's Act, 1998 (Act 560) but the referral shall only be in respect of a minor offence. (5) The court shall ensure that the contents of the report are made known to the juvenile and a copy shall be made available to the juvenile or the legal representative of the juvenile. (6) The court may request an oral report from the probation officer in addition to the social enquiry report. (7) If the court does not follow the recommendations given in the report, written reasons shall be given as to why the recommendations have not been complied with. Background The 17-year-old convict was found guilty for manslaughter by the Accra Juvenile court for shooting and killing a female colleague. He was sixteen years [minor] at the time of the incident on January 4, 2017 and so the case was heard in camera. He is said to have gone for his father’s gun which was under a bed with the intent of shooting in the air, but ended up killing his friend, Lily Donkor, who was also a third year student of the same school. The facts as narrated in court were that on January 4 last year at about 2pm the deceased Lily who lived at Cantonments visited the convict at Community eight in Tema. While there, prosecution said the convict went to his father’s room and picked up his father’s single barrel gun and shot the victim in the abdomen. The convict told the police that he intended shooting into the air however the gravity of the gun changed course and hit the deceased. According to the prosecution, a neighbor heard the gun shot and went to the scene only to see the victim lying in a pool of blood. The victim was taken to the Port Clinic in Tema. However due to the condition of the victim, she was transferred to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra where she died on admission.
A rights group says Ghanaians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are effectively "second-class citizens" because they are criminalised and not protected from violence and discrimination. In its report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) quotes an unnamed 40-year-old lesbian from Cape Coast, who says: The government should recognise that we are human beings, with dignity, not treat us as outcasts in our own society. We want to be free, so we can stand tall in public and not deal with obstacles and harassment daily." Same-sex activity is illegal in Ghana under a colonial-era law. HRW says that although Ghana has not stiffened penalties against consensual same-sex in recent years, “homophobic statements by local and national government officials, traditional elders, and senior religious leaders foment discrimination and in some cases, incite violence.” The rights group is campaigning for this law to be repealed.   Credit: BBC
Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Ocquaye has stated categorically that Ghana will not decriminalize homosexuality as requested by Amnesty International.         The Speaker made the comments when Human Rights group, Amnesty International paid a courtesy call on him at Parliament on Tuesday.   Is amnesty International going to tell us that many countries are doing that so you too have to accept homosexuality, to accept bestiality because [it] is also becoming a human right in some countries. “The right for a human being to sleep with an animal is also becoming a human right and we are tired with some of these things and we must be frank about it,” Professor Ocquaye said.         Amnesty International has raised concerns over the human rights violation of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Intersex People (LGBT) in the country.     Consensual same-sex relations between men remained a criminal offence. Local organizations reported that LGBTI people continued to face police harassment as well as discrimination, violence and instances of blackmail in the wider community, Amnesty International has lamented.   But the Speaker says Ghana will not decriminalize homosexual as requested by the Amnesty International.   The Speaker in February this year, called for an amendment of the law to completely ban homosexuality in Ghana.   Speaking during a courtesy call by the Royal House Chapel led by its founder Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah, Prof. Oquaye said existing legislations are not clear of the illegality of the practice. “It is unfortunate that people have become so liberal that they will want to liberalise Christianity…even priests are approving of homosexuality and allowing a man and a man [to] marry, a woman and a woman [to] marry and these are manifest abominations.   “I trust that with your kind of insistence, the Parliament of Ghana…will find its way clear in strengthening the laws to ban homosexuality as they exist. As for this, may God forbid that it becomes a Ghanaian culture,” Prof. Oquaye said.
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) 43rd Ordinary Session begins from October 31 to November 18, 2016 at Arusha, Tanzania.   The eleven member judges will examine about 70 applications and four requests for advisory opinion, Justice Sylvain Oré, AfCHPR President, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.   He said judges will also hold the Seventh Extra-Ordinary Session from November 28 to December 2.   The court meets four times a year on Ordinary Sessions.   Justice Sylvain Oré said with the rapid growth of International Human Rights in recent years there has been a growing international trend of setting up regional and sub-regional human rights mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter -American Court of Human Rights.   “On the African continent, this trend has resulted into the creation of human rights bodies not only at the sub-regional levels but also at the continental level,” he said.   The African Court President said the creation of the Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was part of the international trend.   The AfCHPR is made up of eleven judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.   The President and Vice President are elected for a term of two years and are eligible to be re-elected for another final term of two years.   The AfCHPR has adopted a progressive communication module which seeks to publicise its mandate to protect human rights on the Continent.   It forms part of the African Court’s Communication Strategy to ensure that Information and Communication policy forms part of its comprehensive strategy and must be placed at the heart of its work and not as an add-on to its activities.   The Court is also building on its media network for improved coverage and public awareness of its activities; and established a specific pool of journalists tagged as “Champions of AfCHPR’’.   Source: GNA
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has official lodged a complaint against the found and General Overseer of the International God’s Way Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim, at the Accra Regional office of the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) for openly flogging two youngsters in his church for fornication. Bishop Daniel Obinim has defended his unlawful act. He had explained that, he did so to serve as a deterrent. Nana Oye Lithur in a Facebook post  wrote, “We have been informed that the police have commenced investigations into the matter and a complaint has also been filed against him [Obinim] at the Tema Regional Police. We will keep you posted on further developments.'' The victims, are said to be his adopted children. The male is a student while the lady is a beautician apprentice.  
The attack against sexual 'minorities' has been widely condemned by the One Hear Foundation (OHF). According to the foundation, the Orlando attack calls for concern especially among human rights advocates.  In a statement issued by the foundation, they said, ''One Heart Foundation Ghana (OHF) edge all human rights advocates around the globe to speak against such abuses and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community or else LGBTIQ will or may continue to suffer such attacks, however we continue to stay optimistic that one day together we shall overcome bigotry, religious differences and atrocities that come with human rights.'' The statement added, ''Not quite long, the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando resulting in the killing of 49 innocent people and wounded 53 more in an attack was shock to other countries who share the same concern with the LGBTIQ around the world.  ''With my heartfelt grievances, I call upon the law enforcement, stakeholders, security agencies, opinion and political leaders to address the abuses the LGBTIQ communities face.'' Omar Mateen, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, shot his way into Pulse nightclub at 2 a.m. Sunday with an assault rifle, Orlando Police announced Sunday. Mateen reportedly took hostage several patrons who were hiding in a bathroom. A SWAT unit entered the club at 6 a.m. and killed Mateen in what was described by law enforcement as a sustained gun battle.  The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history killed 49 people after a gunman attacked a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida.     Below is the full statement: HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST LGBTIQ COMMUNITIES (ORLANDO ATTACK)… A concern to all human right activists and advocates A human rights abuse against LGBTIQ persons around the globe has increased and that makes the livelihood of an individual’s difficult to live as humans with regards to freedom and rights.  LGBTIQ community should enjoy as ordinary citizens in the world without fear of intimidation and abuses. Not quite long, the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando resulting in the killing of 49 innocent people and wounded 53 more in an attack was shock to other countries who share the same concern with the LGBTIQ around the world. One Heart Foundation Ghana (OHF) edge all human rights advocates around the globe to speak against such abuses and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community or else LGBTIQ will or may continue to suffer such attacks, however we continue to stay optimistic that one day together we shall overcome bigotry, religious differences and atrocities that come with human rights.  With my heartfelt grievances, I call upon the law enforcement, stakeholders, security agencies, opinion and political leaders to address the abuses the LGBTIQ communities face. My deepest condolence to all LGBT fraternity, especially the families of all those who lost their brothers, sisters and friends. ‘’ it takes no compromise to give people their rights… it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to remove repression.’’ Harvey Milk    
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