Opposition lawmakers in Scotland have boycotted an arranged meeting with visiting Ghana President John Mahama over gay rights in his home country.
President Mahama who was scheduled to address the Scottish parliament received very low reception from the lawmakers, the UK news portal the Guardian has reported.
According to the opposition lawmakers, Mr. Mahama’s invitation to their parliament is an affront to the gay community since Ghana persecutes gays and lesbians.
They said: “We believe that the Scottish parliament should be a place where everyone can feel safe. Yet the invitation to President John Dramani Mahama to address MSPs can only undermine this, given his full support for the horrific discriminatory laws towards the LGBT community in his country.”
But the director of Stonewall Scotland, Colin Macfarlane, noted that “some promising statements from President Mahama criticizing violence against LGBT communities” cannot be discounted, adding that the first minister of Scotland will “also share her strong view that the Commonwealth values of humanity, equality and tolerance are universal values”.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International secretariat in Scotland has waded into the controversy claiming that they receive daily reports of abuse against homosexuals in Ghana.
“We understand opposition leaders and MSPs choosing not to meet President Mahama during his visit to the Scottish parliament as Ghana’s human rights record has serious failings. However, we are not calling for a boycott of the visit as we view this as an opportunity to raise our concerns about LGBTI discrimination, violence against women and girls, and the use of torture. Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to raising ‘values of humanity, equality and tolerance’ is welcome and we look forward to hearing about any positive interventions,” Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s programme director in Scotland told the Guardian.