Idris Elba, Naomi Campbell and other celebrities with ties to Ghana have spoken out in support of the African nation’s besieged LGBTIQ community.
LGBT+ Rights Ghana opened an office in the African country on January 31. However the facility attracted furious homophobic backlash. Armed officers raided and shut it down on February 24.
Sixty-seven UK celebrities, advocates, politicians and others signed the open letter denouncing the raids and the threats against the activists.
“We see you and we hear you,” the letter reads.
“We are in awe of your strength, your bravery, and your audacity to be true to who you are even when it is dangerous to do so.
“You are loved, you are important and you deserve a safe place to gather in your shared experience.
“We have watched with profound concern as you have had to question the safety of your vital work at the LGBT+ Rights Ghana Centre in Accra, and feared for your personal wellbeing and security.
“It is unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe.”
The open letter also demanded Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo protect his country’s LGBTIQ community.
“As prominent and powerful advocates for this great country, we [call on] president of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and political/cultural leaders to create a pathway for allyship, protection and support.
“We petition for inclusivity which will make the nation even greater and even stronger.”
We have signed a letter calling on His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, to reach out to LGBTQ leaders “to create a pathway for allyship, protection and support.”
— UK BLACK PRIDE (@ukblackpride) March 1, 2021
Violent threats against LGBTIQ leaders before police raid
Gay relationships are illegal in Ghana, and activists say discrimination and abuse against LGBTIQ people is on the rise.
Church groups, politicians and anti-gay rights organisations heaped pressure on the government to shut the centre.
On Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said same-sex marriage “will never happen in my time” as leader.
While this unfortunate incident has happened, we wish to encourage all our members, and queer Ghanaians to stay calm. Do not panic.
We will triumph.
The police may have raided our office, and closed it down but the real office, is in our hearts, and minds.#LETITBEKNOWN pic.twitter.com/dyYktKsa7x
— LGBT+ Rights Ghana (@LGBTRightsGhana) February 24, 2021
LGBT+ Rights Ghana tweeted footage of security forces shutting down the office. Many of the advocates involved now fear for their safety.
“A few days ago, traditional leaders threatened to burn down our office but the police did not help,” the organisation tweeted.
“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.”
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