Why Ghana Human Rights Group Are Against Controversial Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Ghana's parliament on Wednesday, approved a bill to impose stringent anti anti-LGBTQ laws including increases maximum prison sentence and custodial sentences for individuals advocating for LGBTQ rights.

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Why Ghana Human Rights Group Are Against Controversial Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Ghana’s parliament is facing severe criticism from human rights activists and organizations over the approval of a highly controversial anti-LGBTQ bill, known as the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill. The legislation considered one of the toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in Africa, has sparked concerns about fundamental human rights violations.

The Big 18 & Human Rights Coalition, an umbrella group of lawyers and activists in Ghana, expressed their opposition during a Tuesday news conference. They asserted that the bill “criminalizes a person’s identity and strips away fundamental human rights.”

The coalition urgently appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. Takyiwaa Manuh, a senior fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, highlighted the potential financial impacts of the legislation to CBS News stating,

“I am sad, disappointed, and surprised that our commitment and democratic principles in this country appear to be so shallow. This bill represents a real danger to our country, and we are looking to the president to uphold the values of our country and constitution.”

Manuh also pointed out the lack of scrutiny over potential financial impacts, a requirement under the country’s constitution. She criticized the parliament speaker for not conducting the necessary analysis, emphasizing that the bill, if enacted, would place a “heavy burden on the judiciary, the police, and other aspects of life.”

The anti-LGBTQ bill, already approved by Ghana’s parliament on Wednesday, increases the maximum prison sentence for homosexuality from three to five years. It introduces custodial sentences for individuals advocating for LGBTQ rights and criminalizes the distribution of materials supporting LGBTQ rights.

Despite the mounting opposition, the bill awaits President Akufo-Addo’s signature to become law. While he has not publicly stated his stance, there is widespread expectation that he will sign the legislation.

Ghanaian civil society organizations stand ready to challenge the bill legally. Manuh highlighted that many people are unaware of the bill’s content, emphasizing its implications for parents, landlords, and business owners. 

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