Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ghana: President Mills talks tough on gay, lesbian rights

Ghana's President, John Evans Atta Mills says the country will not legalise homosexuality.



(MyCommunityPortal) After receiving much criticism from a cross section of the public for failing to take a stance on the homosexuality discussions, which is gradually spreading across the length and breadth of the country, President John Atta Mills has finally broken his silence on the issue, arguing that Ghana will not legalise homosexuality.

“I, as President of this nation, will never initiate or support any attempt to legalise homosexuality in Ghana,” he asserted.
President Mills made the public remarks yesterday, when he interacted with some journalists at the Osu Castle, seat of the government. His response comes in the wake of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s threat to withhold aid from governments that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality.

Mr. Cameroon, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, issued the threat when Human Rights reform in the Commonwealth became a topic for discussion.  He is reported as saying on BBC that those receiving UK aid should “adhere to proper human rights,” and that “British aid should have more strings attached.”
The topic was one of the issues that leaders attending the summit failed to reach an agreement on.
Mr. Cameroon’s sudden turn around over gay rights the past three years has surprised many. The Tory Leader and the Conservative party have long maintained a stand of not giving room to the practice of homosexuality in the UK.

In 2003, the Tory leader and the Conservative party voted against the repeal of section 28, the controversial Tory legislation introduced in the 1980s, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.
Mr. Cameroon has previously also been criticised for pulling Conservative members of parliament (MPs) out of the main centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, and forming a new group alongside colleagues from the Polish Law and Justice party, which has faced repeated accusations of homophobia, according to the Guardian.co.uk.

The Tory Leader is on record to have said equality matters should be left to a free vote, and that internal matters for other countries should remain the business of that particular country.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to win the mandate of the gay community, Mr. Cameron, in 2009, according to Guardian.co.uk, embarked on a major step in the modernisation of the Conservative party, by offering a public apology for voting against section 28 of the UK Constitution. His remarks on gay rights at Perth, Australia, did not come to many as a surprise.
However, in a swift response to call the bluff of the Tory leader, President Mills said Ghana would not surrender to the demands of the UK, or any country, on matters related to homosexuality.

“No one can deny Prime Minister Cameron his right to make policies, take initiatives, or make statements that reflect his societal norms and ideals, but he does not have the right to direct other sovereign nations as to what they should do, especially, where their societal norms and ideals are different from those which exist in the Prime Minister’s society,” he stated.

Prof. Mills, according to myjoyonline.com, maintained that Britain cannot tell Ghana what to do about her cultural and moral values, and that the country would continue to operate within its constitution, regardless of any threat from any country.
He told journalists that the country would not accept aid conditions which have the tendency to destroy the social fabric of the society.
“Let me also say that while we acknowledge all the financial assistance, and the aid which has been given to us by our developmental partners, we will not accept any aid with strings attached, if that aid will not inure to our interest, or the implementation or utilisation of that aid.”

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