Image copyright AFP Image caption Radical gay rights group Rise above slams accusations of links to immigration groups and a Christian radicalisation campaign
A security crackdown on Ghana’s LGBTQ community is criticised by an anti-gay US group with links to the far-right.
It has denied claims that it has helped people allegedly linked to a Christian radicalisation campaign against sexual minorities.
According to a Washington Post report, Rise Above, a radical gay rights group, is helping intelligence and immigration officials.
The group has links to African nationalist leaders from political campaigns.
The Washington Post said the anti-gay group had helped to identify certain “undesirables” in the US, some of whom were then barred from entering the country.
It added that Rise Above had helped set up an Internet message board “designed to target prospective international refugees in the US with information linking their LGBTness to fundamentalist Islamic beliefs”.
The group has also helped identify possible “black travelers” and had reportedly developed a “cold fusion” program targeting potential immigrants with questionable nationalities and backgrounds.
Right Wing Watch, a counter-progressive site founded by a former employee of the group, said Rise Above’s relationship with immigration and intelligence officials was “explosive”.
A spokesman for Rise Above denied that it had been involved in the outreach campaign against gay refugees.
“Rise Above has shown no affiliation with immigration issues, alleged black travelers or church radicalisation,” Tom D’Angelo told BBC News.
“We have an unrelenting focus on assisting vulnerable gay Ghanaians, particularly refugees, and we have no plans to abandon this mission.”
But a former Rise Above employee, Alfred Cooke, told the Washington Post that Rise Above and others helped draft materials about minority migrants for immigration officials.
Christian groups in Ghana’s diaspora were allegedly involved in the mobilisation campaign which has sparked outrage from gay rights groups.
However, Rise Above said no Christian group or organisation had “influenced its existence or mission”, and that the group had no links to any evangelist group in Ghana.
Rise Above’s partner, Repent, also denied that it had any links to evangelical groups.
According to the Post, Rise Above campaign manager Ken Ottenhoff, a Canadian lawyer, is “close to Georgian nationalist political leaders in Africa” and has run elections campaigns for the former Georgian Democratic Congress.