Ghana’s Parliament Passes Draconian Law With Prison Terms for People Who ‘Identify’ as LGBTIQ
Ghana’s parliament passes a draconian anti-LGBTIQ Bill.

Ghana’s Parliament unanimously passed one of the world’s most draconian anti-LGBTIQ Bills on Wednesday, including a mandatory three-year prison sentence for a person who simply “identifies” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer.

Anyone funding an LGBTIQ organisation also faces five years in prison, while LGBTIQ “advocacy” involving children will result in a 10-year prison sentence – a clause that is so wide it could be applied to sex education in schools.

Any media that reports or broadcasts anything related to LGBTQ+ people or activities also face fines and possible prison sentences.

People who allow same-sex “activity” on properties they “own, occupy or manage”  face six years in prison.

Ghana’s Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Act also prohibits LGBTIQ+ groups, criminalises anyone advocating for these groups and obliges citizens to report “perceived homosexuals or homosexual activity” to the police or community leaders. It also outlaws sex toys

In many ways a copycat of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, the MPs behind laws in both countries have been fêted at meetings organised by US far-right Christians, particularly Family Watch International (FWI).

Mostly recently, the MPs met at a meeting in Entebbe in last April at the African Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Family Values and Sovereignty, where they discussed laws to “protect family values”.

Ghana’s Bill, which was championed by MP Sam George as a Private Member’s Bill, will become law only once it has been signed by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Earlier in the week, a group of Ghanaian lawyers known as the “Big 18” and Human Rights Coalition wrote to the president urging him not to sign the Bill into law as it “violates key fundamental human rights provisions in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution” by infringing on “rights to dignity, freedom of speech, freedom of association, participation in processions, academic freedom, equality, and non-discrimination”.

“Rights are the pillars upon which democracy rests to prevent the tyranny of the majority,” they added.

Noting that Ghana is a secular democratic country, they state that any attempt to criminalise what some regard as a sin through the instrumentality of the state violates the long-standing principle of separation between church and state.

Meanwhile, UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima warned that if the Bill becomes a law “it will exacerbate fear and hatred, could incite violence against fellow Ghanaian citizens, and will negatively impact on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association”.

Byanyima added that it “will obstruct access to life-saving services, undercut social protection, and jeopardize Ghana’s development success.Evidence shows that punitive laws like this Bill are a barrier to ending AIDS, and ultimately undermine everyone’s health.”

MPs claim that they introduced the Bill after an LGBTQ office was opened in Accra in January 2021, and have dared developed nations to impose sanctions. 

After Uganda passed its Anti-Homosexuality Act last year, the World Bank suspended new loans and the US halted some HIV-related aid to the government.

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