US Embassy issues alert regarding threats against LGBTQI+ travellers in Ghana

The United States Embassy has updated its travel advisory to Level 2, advising travellers to “Exercise Increased Caution” due to emerging threats against LGBTQI+ individuals in Ghana. 

The alert issued on November 20, 2023, highlights concerns about crime and violence directed at members of the LGBTQI+ community in the country.

The advisory specifically outlines areas with increased risks, including parts of the Bono East, Bono, Savannah, Northern, North East, and Upper East regions, citing civil unrest. The embassy warns of violent crimes such as carjacking and street mugging, emphasizing that these incidents often occur at night and in isolated locations.

Country summary

The alert said violent crimes are a concern, and travellers should exercise increased caution, especially in urban areas, crowded markets, and when travelling after dark, where criminal elements may use blockades to restrict movement. Areas near the northern border in the Upper East and Upper West regions are highlighted for heightened caution due to security issues.

The advisory also noted that the U.S. government may have limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Ghana, as local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crimes.

LGBTQI+ travellers

The alert addressed the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ travellers in Ghana, citing prohibitions in Ghanaian law on “unlawful carnal knowledge” between persons of the same sex. Punishments for such activities can include fines and incarceration. 

The advisory highlights the increase in anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence in recent years, with reported incidents of targeted assaults, rape, mob attacks, and harassment.

The embassy encourages travellers to visit their LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and review the Human Rights Report for additional details. It also urges enrollment in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for emergency alerts and advises a review of the Country Security Report for Ghana. Travellers are recommended to prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations and follow the Department of State on social media for updates.

Northern border in Upper East and Upper West Regions

In a separate section, the advisory highlights the need for increased caution in border areas, particularly the northern border. Due to security concerns over criminal activity in remote areas, travel of U.S. government personnel to the northern and northwestern border is currently limited.

Source: Kweku Zurek

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