Ghana has strengthened its efforts to suppress the rights of LGBTQ individuals and those advocating for their rights.

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The parliament of Ghana has approved a law that aims to increase efforts to suppress the freedoms of LGBTQ individuals and those advocating for non-traditional sexual or gender orientations in the nation of West Africa.

The latest law that was approved on Wednesday states that those who deliberately promote, sponsor, or support LGBTQ+ activities could face a maximum prison term of five years.

Before the general election in December, according to observers, the bill must first be approved by the president in order to become a law.

Activist organizations are condemning the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill as a step backward for human rights and are urging President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration to refuse it.

However, the law has gained significant backing in Ghana, with Akufo-Addo stating that he will not permit same-sex marriage during his time as leader.

This law is often called the anti-gay bill. It was supported by a group made up of Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders, and was approved without opposition through a voice vote.

Although discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is widespread, there has never been a legal prosecution using the outdated colonial law.

According to the bill, engaging in same-sex relationships could result in imprisonment for a period of six months to three years.

People pushing for LGBTQ rights may face more severe consequences, including possible imprisonment of three to five years.

Volker Türk, the UN human rights chief, denounced the approval of the legislation.

He stated his opposition to the bill becoming law and believes that consensual same-sex acts should not be made into a criminal offence.

The speaker cautioned that these actions may subject individuals to hate crimes and urged the government to “guarantee that all individuals can live without harassment, shame, and prejudice, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Big 18, a coalition composed of attorneys and activists in Ghana, who advocate for human rights, has also expressed disapproval of the proposed legislation.

According to Takyiwaa Manuh, a member of the coalition, the bill’s actions of criminalizing a person’s identity are completely incorrect and unacceptable.

Manuh informed AFP of our strong belief that the president should not approve the bill, as it blatantly disregards the human rights of the LGBT community.

Opposition lawmaker Sam George, the main sponsor of the bill, called on Akufo-Addo to assent to it.

George stated that there is no legislation that addresses LGBTQ issues more effectively than the recently passed bill by parliament. It is hoped that the president will follow through on his promises and stay true to his word.

Concerns are rising among members of Ghana’s LGBTQ community regarding the potential repercussions of the proposed legislation.

Alex Kofi Donkor, the founder and director of the organisation LGBT+ Rights Ghana, said “the passing of this bill will further marginalise and endanger LGBTQ individuals in Ghana.

He expressed that it not only permits discrimination, but also cultivates a climate of intimidation and harassment.

“This legislation poses a danger to the security and welfare of the LGBTQ community, as both members and advocates face severe consequences for their identity and actions.”

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) reports that approximately 30 nations in Africa currently prohibit homosexuality.

Same-sex relationships are severely penalized in Uganda, Mauritania, and several states in Northern Nigeria, with potential death penalty consequences for those accused.

In 2006, South Africa became the sole country in Africa to legalize gay marriage.

The ILGA reports that only a small number of countries, including Cape Verde, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Seychelles, have removed the laws against gay sexual activities.


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