Ever a hot-button issue, gay rights is making headlines world-wide.
Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to limit foreign aid to “anti-gay” countries. The cuts would come in the form of funding “fines” for those unwilling to observe British human rights standards.
“British aid should have more strings attached, in terms of do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity, or do you persecute people for their sexuality,” Cameron said in an interview with the BBC. “We don’t think that’s acceptable.”
The UK government already cut aid to Malawi by 19 million pounds sterling, after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years of hard labor for holding a commitment ceremony.
Others potentially affected by these cuts include a number of African countries, including Ghana. Ghana’s constitution, drafted in 1992, guarantees human rights “regardless of race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender”, but does not mention sexuality.
Since Cameron’s comments at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, earlier this week, there’s been backlash from a number of groups, particularly religious organizations and conservatives across the globe. The CHOGM itself failed to provide a recommendation to put an end to homophobic laws in its 41 member nations.
Most criticize the prime minister for his lack of cultural relativism and his perceived secular views. Ghana is a predominantly Christian country where homosexuality is illegal. In June, the minister for the Western Region of Ghana, a catholic, even called on government intelligence services to track down and arrest homosexuals.
In an article released today in Daily Graphic, Ghana’s biggest selling paper, an unnamed author details various religious leaders’ views. Most criticize that Cameron lacks understanding of Ghana’s cultural values.
High profile lawyer Kwame Akuffo is quoted as having said, “The British government has an extensive relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country that is involved in inhuman acts that the international community considers reprehensible, yet they have not severed relations with that country because of monetary gains and also because the UK sells arms to Saudi Arabia.”