Ghanaian LGBT+ rights group pleads for help after unlawful police raid
An LGBT+ rights group in Ghana has had its offices raided and shut down by national security forces.
LGBT+ Rights Ghana announced the news on Twitter on Wednesday (24 February) and called on allies to speak out about the shocking incident.
“A few days ago, traditional leaders threatened to burn down our office but the police did not help,” the organisation wrote on Twitter.
“At this moment, we no longer have access to our safe space and our safety is being threatened. We call on all human rights organisations, and allies, to speak out against these attacks and hate crimes we are being subjected to.”
LGBT+ Rights Ghana also shared video footage of national security vehicles parked outside their offices and photos of people entering the premises.
This morning, our office was raided by National Security. A few days ago, traditional leaders threatened to burn down our office but the police did not help. pic.twitter.com/FM2XVXDnJL
— LGBT+ Rights Ghana (@LGBTRightsGhana) February 24, 2021
The raid has been condemned by Amnesty International Ghana, local media outlets have reported.
Frank Doyi, the director of Amnesty Ghana, accused police of breaking the law by shutting down the organisation’s offices.
“The circumstance under which the facility was invaded is what we consider to be a clear violation of the very laws that we all seek to uphold,” Doyi said.
He added: “The question we like to ask again is whether or not the individuals who were found in that particular facility were seen engaging in any act, if they were not then clearly it’s an issue of the security agencies engaging in an act that is not supported by our laws.
“When the rights of individuals are clearly violated, then that becomes a serious issue of concern.”
Closing of LGBT+ rights centre in Ghana is a violation of human rights
A number of foreign diplomats in Ghana faced public backlash earlier this month when they attended an event to mark the opening of the organisation’s new centre, according to Al Jazeera.
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Gay sex is illegal in Ghana, meaning any public support for the LGBT+ community is often met with public condemnation.
The European Union’s delegation in Ghana said at the time that it had “participated in the opening of the new community space”.
Alex Donker, director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, told AFP that the closing of the centre was a violation of human rights.
“Ghana is a free country and we expect the president and the security agencies to rather protect us instead of threatening us,” he said.
Asenso Gyambi, who owns the property, later admitted that he reported the organisation to police. He said he did not know when he rented the premises out that it would be used by an LGBT+ rights group.