Ghana (2nd cycle)
For a summary of Ghana’s review at the first cycle please click here.
14th UPR session
Date of review: 23 October 2012
Date of report adoption: March 2013
Working Group report: A/HRC/22/x
Documents: The compilation of UN information noted that criminalisation of MSM and sex workers provides an obstacle to HIV prevention and the implementation of rights of people living with HIV. Stakeholders also expressed concern about the criminalisation of consensual relations between adults.
Discussions: Whilst it was recommended that Ghana give consideration to revising the Criminal Code in order to repeal the provision that criminalises sexual activity between consenting adults in the previous cycle, there were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the second cycle working group review of Ghana.
I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs
- Apply Constitutional guarantees of equality to LGBT persons;
- Combat violence and harassment;
- Engage in dialogue regarding decriminalisation of consensual same-sex relations;
- Review the High Commissioner’s report on sexual orientation and gender identity, and consider implementing the recommendations.
II. Excerpts from input reports
No references to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Compilation of UN information
III. Implementation of international human rights obligations
A. Equality and non-discrimination
14. UNAIDS stated that there are no explicit laws protecting the rights of PLHIV (people living with HIV). Several acts strengthen the Constitutional prohibition against discrimination, but they do not address the issue of HIV/AIDS-based discrimination. It also stated that the laws and policies need to address ostracized groups, including MSM (men who have sex with men) and certain professions such as commercial sex work. The activities of these groups are criminalized, which inhibits the development of mechanisms to prevent discrimination against them.
Summary of stakeholder information
B. Implementation of international human rights obligations
1. Equality and non-discrimination
17. AI indicated that Ghana’s Constitution guarantees freedom from discrimination, in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 2 of which guarantees non-discrimination on the grounds of sex. However, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation persists.
4. Right to privacy
41. AI stated that sexual activity between consenting adults remains criminalized under Chapter 6, Article 104 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits ―unnatural carnal knowledge (defined to include consensual sexual intercourse between men). This clause has the effect of encouraging discrimination, harassment and persecution of people on the basis of their identity and consensual sexual behaviour. AI recommended that Ghana protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to amend the Criminal Code to repeal the provision that criminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults.
42. CHRI stated that the period under review has seen statements by members of parliament that the government should take action against homosexuals. Church organisations, which wield significant influence in Ghanaian politics, have publicly called for the strengthening of the laws in relation to same-sex sexual conduct. The impact of the debates, and the animosity towards homosexuality this incites, has meant that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual individuals (LGBTI) are more vulnerable to discrimination, harassment and violence. As homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, they have no protection under the law. JS3 raised similar concern.
43. CHRI recommended that Ghana issue a moratorium on public prosecutions under Section 104(b) of the 1960 Criminal Code and embark on a process of repealing it. CHRI also recommended that Ghana ensure that the provisions in the Constitution that guarantee equality and dignity are used to protect members of the LGBTI community; and encourage dialogue and cooperation between civil society groups, human rights defenders, religious groups and other relevant stakeholders on the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct.
III. References to SOGI during the Working Group review
Whilst it was recommended that Ghana give consideration to revising the Criminal Code in order to repeal the provision that criminalises sexual activity between consenting adults in the previous cycle, there were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the second cycle working group review of Ghana.
IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations
There were no recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity during the review of Ghana.
V. Adoption of the Report
The report of the working group is due to be adopted at the 22nd regular session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013.
VI. Further information
For first cycle reports of Ghana, please see here
National report 1: A | C | E | F | R | S
Compilation of UN information 2: A | C | E | F | R | S
Corrigendum : E
Summary of stakeholders’ information 3: A | C | E | F | R | S
Corrigendum : E only
Questions submitted in advance : E
Addendum 1 : E
Addendum 2 : E
Draft Report of the Working group : E