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NDC's Lawyer Raymond Atuguba wrote on Gays and Lesbians In Ghana, Read Part 1

In a study by Lawyer Raymond Atuguba on Homosexuality in Ghana: Morality, Law, Human Rights, published here at Lawyer Atuguba wrote on Ghana’s International Obligations towards LGBT's. Kindly read the first part of his submission:

It is widely accepted in international human rights law that human rights are universal and inalienable; indivisible; interdependent and interrelated. This universality principle of human rights is captured in the words of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:38 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. This document and its definitive principle of the universality of human rights, although soft law39, is now considered a part of customary international law40. It is the starting point to hold Ghana accountable for violations of the rights of LGBT people as a member of the United Nations.

In the year 2000, on 7th September, Ghana ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), further demonstrating her commitment to human rights standards set out in this binding document and publicly announcing her ability to uphold and pursue the course of civil and political human rights (Stand Ghana, 2019).

Article 2(1) of the ICCPR enjoins Ghana to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction, the rights recognized in the Covenant, without distinction of any kind. This principle, therefore, imposes on Ghana a legal obligation to guarantee that all persons present in her jurisdiction enjoy the rights laid down in the ICCPR, regardless of their status. Some of these rights include the right to life and human dignity41; equality before the law42; and right to personal liberty43.

Conversely, LGBT's in Ghana are often not accorded equal rights. The criminalization of private, consensual sex between adults of the same sex, as gallantly displayed in section 104(1)(b) of the Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana, offends Article 17 of the ICCPR which prompts State parties to protect individual privacy. The right to privacy of homosexual activity was given judicial pronouncement by the Human Rights Committee in Toonen v Australia44. Toonen challenged the laws in the Australian State of Tasmania criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct.

The Committee found that it was “undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of ‘privacy’” under Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It did not matter that Mr. Toonen, the author of the communication, had never been prosecuted. The mere existence of the criminal law “continuously and directly interferes with the author’s privacy” (United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, 2012).

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Gays Homosexuality NDC Raymond Atuguba


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