US Embassy issues alert over emerging threats to LGBTQ+ persons in Ghana

The United States Embassy has raised concerns about emerging threats against LGBTQ+ individuals in Ghana, prompting an update to its travel advisory to Level 2, advising travellers to “Exercise Increased Caution.”

The alert, issued on November 20, 2023, specifically highlights the heightened risks of crime and violence directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community in the country.

The advisory singles out areas with increased risks, including portions of the Bono East, Bono, Savannah, Northern, North East, and Upper East regions, citing concerns about civil unrest.

The embassy emphasizes the prevalence of violent crimes such as carjacking and street mugging, particularly at night and in isolated locations.

Travellers are urged to exercise increased caution, especially in urban areas, crowded markets, and during nighttime travel, where criminal elements may impose blockades to restrict movement. Specific areas near the northern border in the Upper East and Upper West regions are highlighted for heightened caution due to security issues.

The advisory acknowledges potential limitations in the U.S. government’s ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in Ghana, as local law enforcement may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crimes.

Addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travellers in Ghana, the alert references Ghanaian laws prohibiting “unlawful carnal knowledge” between individuals of the same sex, with punishments including fines and incarceration. The advisory underscores the surge in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and violence in recent years, citing incidents of targeted assaults, rape, mob attacks, and harassment.

Travellers are encouraged to visit the embassy’s LGBTQ+ Travel Information page and review the Human Rights Report for additional details.

The alert advises enrolment in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for emergency alerts, a review of the Country Security Report for Ghana, and preparation of a contingency plan for emergency situations. Additionally, travellers are recommended to follow the Department of State on social media for updates.

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