Home Human Rights “Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized” – UN Human Rights, Others Condemn Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill
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“Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized” – UN Human Rights, Others Condemn Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill

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Ghana's anti-LGBTQ Bill

The recent anti-LGBTQ bill passed in Ghana criminalizing LGBTQ+ identification has stirred an uproar as rights groups and others condemn the bill, viewing it as an infringement on personal freedoms.

Recall that West Africa Weekly on Wednesday reported that the Ghanaian Parliament approved the anti-LGBTQ bill, which prohibits LGBT activities, making it illegal to promote, advocate, or sponsor them.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Ghana and punishable by up to three years in prison. However, the new bill has stipulated a maximum five-year jail term for those involved in the formation or financing of LGBTQ+ organisations.

This has sparked reactions demanding that the bill should not become law.

Reacting, Human Rights Chief Volker Turk expressed that the passage of the “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024 is profoundly disturbing.”

“I call for the bill not to become law. Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized,” he stated.

Also, the US State Department, through its spokesperson, Mattew Miller, urged a review of its constitutionality, cautioning against potential negative impacts on the rights of its people, international reputation, and the economy, saying:

“The Ghanaian parliament’s passage of a bill criminalizing members of the LGBTQI+ community imperils the rights of all its people, its international reputation, and its economic development. Ghana’s laudable tradition of tolerance will be undermined if this bill becomes law.”

Echoing these concerns, the US embassy in Ghana took to social media on Thursday morning, stating:

“I am saddened because some of the smartest, most creative, most decent people I know are LGBT. The bill Parliament passed takes away not only their basic human rights but those of all Ghanaians because it undermines their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. It will be bad for public order and public health. If enacted, it will also hurt Ghana’s international reputation and Ghana’s economy.”

Rights groups such as Rightify Ghana have also vehemently criticized the legislation, condemning it as regressive and a grave violation of LGBTQ+ rights.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, has warned that the enactment of this law could “exacerbate fear & hatred, obstruct access to lifesaving services, undercut social protection & undermine the fight to end AIDS.” She also stated that:

“If Ghana’s Human Sexual Rights & Family Values Bill becomes law, it will hamper the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS. Evidence shows that punitive laws like this bill are a barrier to ending AIDS and ultimately undermine everyone’s health.”

As per Ghana’s constitution, the bill would be presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo, who would then have seven days to inform the parliament’s speaker of his decision to either assent or reject the bill.

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