Ghana bans gay conference

Official says 'Unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal'

Anthony Cuesta | September 05, 2006

Information Minister Kwamena Bartels
Ghana's government has banned a conference for gay men and lesbians due to take place there later this month and threatened to take disciplinary action on anyone caught breaking the law.

According to The BBC, Information Minister Kwamena Bartels said because homosexuality was illegal in Ghana, the gathering would not be permitted.

"Government does not condone any such activity which violently offends the culture, morality and heritage of the entire people of Ghana," he said, reports The BBC.

According to the Ghana News Agency, many members of the public and the clergy have spoken out against the conference.

Some anonymous callers to radio phone-in programmes say the government's reaction is an infringement of the fundamental freedoms of speech and association by gays and lesbians.

The BBC's Kwaku Sakyi-Addo in the capital, Accra, says the conference was reportedly scheduled to take place Monday at the Accra International Conference Centre and at a venue in the city of Koforidua.

It has been difficult to establish precisely who was organizing the conference, and whether it had received any prior approval from any official quarter, he says.

But in an unequivocal statement, Bartels laid out the government's position.

"Government would like to make it absolutely clear that it shall not permit the proposed conference anywhere in Ghana,� Bartel�s statement read.

According to All Headline News, Bartels urged the interior minister to investigate and punish those who had given initial permission to the organizers.

"Unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal under our criminal code. Homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality are therefore offenses under the laws of Ghana," he said, All Headline News reports.

The Ghana News Agency also reports that members of the public and the clergy have spoken out against the conference. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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