Paul Evans Aidoo's Ghana gay spy call 'promotes hatred'

Men holding hands Most gays and lesbians in Ghana maintain their relationships underground

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A Ghanaian minister is "promoting hatred" by urging people to report those they suspect to be homosexual, a human rights group has told the BBC.

Ghana's Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights said Paul Evans Aidoo's comments could endanger the nation's underground gay community.

Mr Aidoo said he wanted to rid society of gay people and take them to court.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana but someone would have to be caught having sex to be prosecuted.

Mr Aidoo was reacting to reports that 8,000 gay people in the Western Region had registered with Aids charities.

"I don't believe it; nobody believes it," the Western Region minister told Ghana's Joy FM radio station earlier this week.

Start Quote

There's no way you can be arresting people on the basis of perception”

End Quote Mac-Darling Cobbinah Human rights activist

He urged people - "landlords and tenants" - to come forward if they suspected someone was gay.

The suspects would be taken to court to see if they could be charged, Mr Aidoo said.

"All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in the society," he said.

But Mac-Darling Cobbinah, the head of the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights, said the threat was empty.

"There's no way you can be arresting people on the basis of perception," he told the BBC.

"It is promoting hatred - and it's creating a divided society where gay people will be antagonised or attacked or blackmailed," he said.

"When a minister of state and government starts relating such messages it can't help society."

Last week, the Christian Council of Ghana held a press conference to condemn homosexuality.

Homosexuality is frowned upon in many African societies.

An MP in Uganda recently tried to introduce the death penalty for some homosexual acts, sparking international criticism.

The bill has not become law.

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