A video has emerged in Ghana of a gay man being beaten by a mob and doused in animal blood, as the country’s MPs prepare to vote on what critics say could be the most draconian anti-LGBTQ legislation on earth.
In the grainy mobile footage, which surfaced last week from Nkoranza, in northern Ghana, the 21-year-old man is trapped by an angry crowd, called an “abomination”, beaten around the head and then dragged before a traditional leader.
The crowd then sacrifice a sheep and pour fresh blood and schnapps over the kneeling victim to “purify” him. The allegedly gay man is told he must pay for the animal, along with two dozen others, the ring leaders say.
Activists in Ghana say the horrific incident is part of a wave of homophobic attacks that has swept across the West African nation over the last few years.
Homosexuality has been deeply taboo in the highly religiously country for decades. But in a few weeks, parliament is set to debate a bill that could give a country many regard as a beacon of democracy and liberalism in a troubled region some of the most draconian anti-gay laws on earth.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill proposes that anyone who identifies as gay or transgender face imprisonment for up to five years and anyone who promotes or supports non-straight sexual identities be locked up for up to 10 years. It also includes requirements to denounce “suspects”.
“We need to protect our children who are currently being targeted by these LGBTQ+ people making them believe that it’s the new way of life,” Samuel Nartey George, one of the main sponsors of the bill, told AFP. “Our culture should not be destroyed.”
Ghana is one of 22 countries in Africa where gay sex is illegal but while discrimination against LGBTQ people is common, no one has ever been prosecuted under the old British colonial-era law, which bans homosexual relations.
LGBT activists say there has been a marked change since an American far-right group called the World Congress of Families held a conference in the country in 2019.
“We don’t think [this bill] is something which was put together locally. This is an imported hatred,” said Danny Bediako, the head of Rightify Ghana, an LGBTQ rights movement.
“When they came here, the World Congress of Families met with key personalities like the former president of Ghana, traditional leaders and the National Chief Imam.
“We believe that the bill has been driven by the World Congress of Families and their alliances with local homophobic coalitions,” said Mr Bediako.
Currently, the bill is being pushed by eight MPs, mainly from the opposition, who have managed to corner Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, a British educated former rights lawyer, into a difficult spot.
While it is has been reported that Mr Akufo-Addo is personally against the bill, it seems to be overwhelmingly popular with the public.
According to data collected by the research group Afrobarometer in 2014, about 90 per cent of his citizens said they would approve of criminalising same-sex relationships.
The international community has joined activists in condemning the bill.
“Adopting the legislation in its current or any partial form would be tantamount to a violation of a number of human rights standards, including the absolute prohibition of torture,” a group of UN experts said in a statement.
“It will not only criminalise LGBTI people, but anyone who supports their human rights shows sympathy to them or is even remotely associated with them.”
The Telegraph contacted the World Congress of Families for comment but did not receive a reply.
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