Human Rights Council – 53rd Session
Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review- Ghana
Thank you President,
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of Youth Action Movement-Ghana (YAM-Gh) and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We regret that Ghana has taken such an inconsistent approach to the sexual and reproductive health and rights-related recommendations it received during its UPR review, and regret that the addendum to the report does not provide adequate explanations for the chosen approach.
We welcome Ghana’s acceptance of a number of recommendations on ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, including access to contraception and safe and legal abortion. We urge the government to decriminalise abortion completely and to ensure that safe and legal abortion services are affordable, accessible, of good quality, and readily available as part of the routine reproductive health services offered under the national health insurance scheme.
However, we are concerned by the reluctance to accept recommendations that directly or indirectly pertain to the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Ghana, as seen with the recommendation received on ensuring the elimination of discrimination, intimidation, and violence against key populations as part of the country’s HIV/AIDS response. Creating an enabling environment by removing legal and policy barriers is core to an effective HIV/AIDS response. We urge Ghana to repeal section 104 (1) (b) of the Criminal Offences Act, to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation which explicitly prohibits discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status, and to refrain from adopting new laws aimed at further criminalising these communities. We also call on Ghana to build the capacity of healthcare workers with regard to stigma and discrimination and gender-based violence, and the impact these factors have on the HIV and TB response.