Group seeks signatures to decriminalize homosexuality in Ghana
Published Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:59AM CST
Eight men focused on one mission. Armed with a pen and paper, the “Ghana Pavilion,” hope a petition will pressure Ghana to decriminalize homosexuality.
The group isn’t officially part of Folklorama, but they plan to attend several Folklorama events during the next two weeks.
Instead of showcasing their country’s culture in a gym or community centre, they’ll be protesting their country’s laws on the sidewalk—hoping thousands of signatures can help rewrite Ghana’s Criminal Code, where homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
"I can say we are getting ahead. And we are getting a whole lot of signatures," said Saalu Taahiru Osman. On Sunday, the team received about 1000 signatures.
Osman says when he was living in Ghana, he was attacked because he was dating a man. He says he was threatened, beaten and stabbed with a bottle.
“They stabbed me as you can see over here. They stabbed my tummy,” said Osman, “After this when I went to the government hospital, I was told to go to the police station to have a police report before they could work on it.for me. I couldn't go to the police.”
The eight men aren’t sure if they can stay in Canada yet.
They applied for refugee status after walking into Manitoba three months ago in Emerson, but their refugee hearings have been postponed. Each of them say they can't return to Ghana.
“Some are getting stabbed, killed, bitten. If you report it to police you go to prison. That’s the reason we’re running,” said Suleman Abdulai.
The petition is calling on the Government of Canada to use its diplomatic clout to promote the respect for the human rights of all LGBTQ sexual minorities in Ghana.
Once the group collects its signatures, their plan is to send their petition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, as well as the Ghana High Commission in Canada, and Winnipeg’s members of parliament.