Joseph Whittal – CHRAJ Boss
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called for public tolerance in the discussion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community issues.
The agency, commenting on recent developments on the issue in a release said, “the discourse around LGBTQI+, even though quite emotive and sensitive in our context, must be guided by one of the most cherished Ghanaian values; tolerance.”
The statement signed by Commissioner, Joseph Whittal, emphasized that most members of the LGBTQI+ community are Ghanaians, who come from Ghanaian homes and families, and live in Ghanaian communities.
He strongly urged the public to desist from utterances and actions that have the propensity to occasion aggression, hatred and violence against members of the LGBTQI+ community.
He said the need for tolerance is reinforced by Article 28 of the African Charter which provides that “every individual shall have the duty to respect and consider his fellow beings without discrimination, and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safe-guarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance.”
“Members of the LGBTQI+ community being human are equally entitled to protection of their human dignity as expressed in article 15 of the 1992 Constitution. While their sexual orientation may not conform to the prevailing Ghanaian values and norms, it does not cast a doubt on their humanity and therefore entitled to equal protection under the laws of Ghana,” he said.
The Commission described as unacceptable practices such as public humiliation and references to members of the LGBTQI+ community as “animals” among other degrading conduct and utterances.
“The Commission calls for calm among the Ghanaian public, and to approach this national conversation having regard to the Ghanaian values and norms whilst at the same time being each other’s keeper.
As the National Human Rights Institution, we assure the Ghanaian public of our commitment towards the protection of the dignity of all persons under the 1992 Constitution without compromising the values and norms of Ghanaian and African People that constitute the bedrock of our society,” he said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri