M.A. Human Rights Student, Abdul-Wadud Mohammed, Speaks at United Nations

Picture of M.A. Human Rights Student, Abdul-Wadud Mohammed speaking at United Nationswith sign LGBT+ Rights Ghana.

On 29 November 2022, Abdul-Wadud Mohammed, a current student of the M.A. Human Rights, travelled to Geneva to speak at his country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council about LGBTQIA+ rights in Ghana. Of this experience, Mohammed said, “the UPR presented a unique opportunity for LGBTQIA+ activists in Ghana in the wake of fighting the anti-LGBT bill on the floor of the Ghanaian parliament which was presented in 2021 by some 9 Members of Parliament”. Mohammed drafted and read a statement on behalf of a cluster of LGBTQIA+ led CSOs in Ghana at the pre-session for Ghana and highlighted the various violations faced by the LGBTQIA+ community as well as violations against the activists fighting for the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in Ghana.

In his statement, he focused on two main issues: discrimination and arbitrary arrests of LGBTQIA+ activists, and criminalization and violence against LGBTQIA+ persons. Mohammed notes, “it was important for me to also highlight the reluctance of the state in accepting recommendations based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) which is evidenced by how more than half of the noted recommendations were on SOGI during the last cycle in 2017”.

Since the UPR is a peer review mechanism by member states of the UN, Mohammed had the opportunity to have bilateral meetings with numerous Foreign Missions in Geneva in hopes of getting them to put out recommendations based on SOGI to the Government of Ghana during its upcoming review in January 2023.