On Feb. 2, President Joe Biden announced to African leaders in a virtual summit conference on Zoom that the United States was “promoting” the rights of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) individuals. Biden stressed to the African Union that diplomacy would stress multilateral accords, shared concerns in democracy, health security against COVID-19, and helping nations adjust to climate influences.
Two days later, Biden told State Department employees, “America is back, diplomacy is back,” as he suggested he would halt or convert a wide range of foreign policy actions by former President Donald Trump. An executive memorandum issued that same day spelled out his administration’s broader vision, including the protections for LGBTQI individuals.
“Agencies involved with foreign aid, assistance, and development programs should consider the impact of programs funded by the Federal Government on human rights, including the rights of LGBTQI+ persons, when making funding decisions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law,” according to a memorandum for executive heads of agencies and departments listed on the Federal Register.
The memorandum included a large list of agencies that donate billions of dollars of relief to African nations yearly.
“My Administration is committing to rebuilding our partnerships with nations around the world and reengaging with international institutions like the African Union,” he told the 34th Annual African Union Summit conference in Addis Ababa.
“We must all work together to advance our shared vision of a future of growing trade and investment that advances the prosperity for all of our nations … a future committed to investing in our democratic institutions and promoting the human rights of all people: women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities and people of every ethnic background, religion, and heritage.”
The Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has reacted to the memorandum, saying that Ghana is a sovereign country and has its laws that its citizenry must abide by regardless of the relationship the country has established with other countries.
“Ghana is a sovereign country but as part of our foreign policy we engage countries all over the world; America is one of our strongest friends. But in this country we have laws. And our laws work and must work.
“So in spite of what somebody will say and in this case President Biden, the laws of Ghana criminalizes unlawful carnal knowledge and therefore the laws of Ghana definitely are supreme and that is what we all adhere to,” she noted.