According to reports, Ghana security forces raided and shut down the office of an LGBTQ+ rights group in Accra.
A number of international celebrities and influencers have spoken out in support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the West African country of Ghana after authorities raided the office of an LGBTQIA+ advocacy and support group on February 24.
It is reported that Ghana security forces raided and shut down the office of an LGBTQ+ rights group in the capital, Accra, after politicians and religious leaders called for its closure.
The centre, which opened January 31, was immediately met with strong opposition from government officials and religious authorities, with threats of violence from local traditional leaders, according to the website Out.com.
According to the website Advocate.com, a group of over 65 British celebrities and politicians released a statement calling for Ghana’s president to engage with the country’s LGBTQ+ population.
The group includes the likes of actor Idris Elba and supermodel Naomi Campbell, and is mostly made up of Brits of Ghanaian heritage, writes Advocate.com.
Ghanaian footballer Michael Essien is the latest to declare support for the group, however, according to Okay Africa.com, Essien’s support of the cause has led to public backlash.
The footballer took to Instagram and called for more support for gays and lesbians in Ghana, insisting that they must be heard.
His post said, “We see you, we hear you, we support you. Our LGBTQIA plus Community in Ghana #ghanasupportequalityGH,” he wrote.
A number of Instagram users disagreed with the ex-Chelsea star and former Ghana international in the comments of his post, which has since been deleted, reported Okay Africa.
Furthermore, the group LGBT+ Rights Ghana took to social media platform Twitter to say: “At this moment, we no longer have access to our safe space and our safety is being threatened. We call on all human rights organisations, and allies to speak out against these attacks and hate crimes we are being subjected to.”
The group further said that while this unfortunate incident has happened, they wish to encourage all members and queer Ghanaians to stay calm and have called on people not to panic.
“We will triumph. The police may have raided our office, and closed it down but the real office is in our hearts, and minds,” said LGBT+ Rights Ghana on Twitter.
Meanwhile , according to news broadcaster Al Jazeera, Ghana’s minister-designate for gender, children and social protection, Sarah Adwoa Safo, said last week that “the issue of the criminality of LGBT is non-negotiable and their cultural practices also frown on it”.
People took to Twitter to express their support for the organization.
Gay sex is criminalised in Ghana with offenders potentially facing up to 25 years in prison.