Outspoken lawyer, Maurice K. Ampaw has mocked an announcement by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Apeatu that the Ghana Police Service would provide refuge for homosexuals in the country.
According to the controversy-loving lawyer, the IGP’s submission was done in ignorance of the law and therefore asked that the police head be schooled on the various laws that governed the nation.
In an interview with Accra based Oman FM, Lawyer Ampaw split his ribs in laughter while he referred the IGP to Article 11 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
“…since the police are the enforcers of the law, he (IGP) should go and study article 11 of the 1992 constitution…the laws of Ghana are not only enshrined in the criminal acts…it includes customary law, the Act of Parliament, Common Law, Marriage Ordinance…” he said.
Lawyer Ampaw continued: “They should also be thinking about enforcing those laws which do not support gay rights in this country. Our customs say we don’t agree to a man having sex with a man or a woman having sexual affairs with another woman and there are punishments for those who indulge in it. How dare the police to come and interfere with our customary laws and rights.”
Furious over the police’s statements, the lawyer said any attempt to provide any form of protection to gays and lesbians in the country, would be tantamount to protecting illegality.
Police to Protect Gays and Lesbians
The IGP, Asante-Apeatu in response to the Human Rights Watch’s (HRW), report on the violations of the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people living in Ghana, said, the Ghana Police Service would adopt proactive and pragmatic measures to providing refuge to homosexuals in Ghana.
According to the HRW report, “Ghanaians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) suffer widespread discrimination and abuse both in public and in family settings,” and therefore called for a repeal of section 104(1)(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 prohibiting and punishing “unnatural carnal knowledge”.
The report resolved that “Having a law on the books that criminalise adult consensual same-sex conduct contributes to a climate in which LGBT people are frequently victims of violence and discrimination,”
The HRW therefore, made specific recommendations to the president, Ghana’s Parliament, CHRAJ and the Ghana Police Service to make homosexuals and the rest feel comfortable living in Ghana.
Ghanaians Unhappy With Police Response
The police after its response to the HRW has received fiery darts of criticisms from a section of the public.
Some have opined that police had the “guts” to respond positively to the HRW’s report because they had received backing from the presidency.
It could be recalled that the president, Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo-Addo in an interview with Al Jazeera on why LGBT rights were not legalised in Ghana, said, he did not believe “a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion” that would cause a change and adding that, “it is bound to happen.”
According to another lawyer, Moses Afrane, the president must come clear on the matter so that one doubts his stand.
“…the police cannot make such statement without the knowledge of the interior ministry and without the knowledge of the presidency,” he added.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ email@example.com