A Personal Note from AIDS-Free World

Published: December 16, 2010

Dear Colleague,

We want to call your attention to a distressing news story, full of vehement anti-gay sentiment, which began circulating on the web this week. The subject of the article was the leader of a respected legal and womens rights organization in Ghana.  We were horrified to see that the craven statements quoted in the article had not been directed at the human rights defender, but were spoken by her. Bernice Sam, representing WiLDAF-Ghana, called for more stringent definitions of marriage in her countrys constitution a reform that she deems necessary in order to eventually criminalize homosexuality in Ghana. So certain was Ms. Sam of the righteousness of her argument that she presented it at a public forum.  A quick internet search unearthed equally frightening assertions that homosexuality is a threat to public health, made by a Ghanaian government official responsible for a regional HIV/AIDS program.

As youll see in our attached statement, we asked Bernice Sam to repudiate her homophobic statements and she has not done so.  Perhaps she is right to feel confident of impunity; increasingly, news from Africa features pronouncements by heads of state and legislators calling for imprisonment and even death to punish or cure homosexuals.

Please forgive us for the duplicate message that will appear in your inbox. We have distributed the statement widely, but wanted to ensure that colleagues whose work advances the rights of LGBTI communities were personally alerted to the latest evidence of a terrifying trend.

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