Ms Laureta Vivian Lamptey, Ghana’s new Commissioner at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), assumed office last week after being sworn in by President John Evans Atta Mills. In an interview with Peace FM, Ms Lamptey voiced two common views that slow down progress for LGBTI human rights: African values and majority views pose a justification for discrimination against LGBTI persons.
In the interview Ms Lamptey said that homosexuality is viewed as unAfrican in Ghana and “we should be wherever our country should be.” She seems to believe that full human rights for LGBTI persons can only be granted when Ghanaian society is ready:
“There was a question about the debate being about bigger rights like same sex marriage. I said that I don’t think that the country is ready for that at all. I think we are far from that. That even the countries where they recognize civil unions or even formal marriages, they did not get there overnight. It developed, their communities developed and gay activists lobbied and there came a point when the society was ready to give those categories of people those rights. They didn’t have them and that is how rights and law develop, they develop to meet the needs of the society. Society says that we think this is a good thing, we think this is not a good thing but we are a tolerant society and we want to allow these people these rights. So I said that I don’t think we are there. I think we are far from there. I was not giving you a view of whether we should or shouldn’t be, I was talking about my view of what is. I don’t think as a society we are ready to give homosexuals, lesbians…the whole category of people any of those kinds of rights. I think we have religious, moral, traditional, many, many barriers to that. And I don’t think we have to simply copy the Western world on everything because someone can say this is where you should be in terms of rights of individuals. I think we should be wherever our country should be and no two countries are the same. So that in terms of the additional rights.”
Ms Lamptey seems to believe that the Ghanian majority have the right to ultimately decide on the rights of sexual minorities.