Ghana maintains clampdown on LGBTQI


Gays in Ghana

from RUSSELL ADADEVOH in Accra, Ghana
Ghana Bureau
ACCRA, (CAJ News) – THERE is outcry following the passage of a law that increases a crackdown on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities in Ghana.

Parliament on Wednesday passed the legislation, officially called the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill. If signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, it would become law.

Critics, including the United States and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have denounced this as repressive.

The bill proposes sentences of between three and five years in prison. During debate, some legislators even advocated for castration.

The bill seeks to criminalize any person who simply identifies as LGBTQI+, as well as any friend, family or member of the community who does not report them.

Matthew Miller, US Department of State spokesperson, said the government of President Joe Biden is “deeply troubled.”

“The United States echoes the call by those Ghanaians who have urged a review of the constitutionality of the bill to protect the rights of all individuals in Ghana,” Miller said.

He said the bill would also undermine Ghana’s valuable public health, media and civic spaces and economy.

According to Miller, international business coalitions have stated that such discrimination in Ghana would harm business and economic growth in the country.

The West African country’s tradition of tolerance, peace, and respect for human rights is in the spotlight. It has been praised as a model for countries around the globe.

“This legislation is inconsistent with these values and will, if it becomes law, undermine this laudable tradition,” Miller said.

Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS executive director, shared similar sentiments.

She said Ghana was a respected member of the Human Rights Council and global leader in fighting inequality.

“If the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill becomes law, it will exacerbate fear and hatred, obstruct access to lifesaving services, undercut social protection and undermine the fight to end AIDS,” Byanyima.

The human rights community also expressed concern.

The Kaleidoscope Trust said it was “devastated” and denounced the bill as discriminatory.

“We continue to stand in solidarity with the LGBTI+ community in Ghana and urge President Akufo-Addo not to sign the bill into law,” it pledged.

By passing the bill, Ghana is the latest country in the continent to maintain a crackdown on same-sex liaisons.

Some in the continent believe LGBTQI is a concept from the West.

“Family values are crucial to the integrity of an African society and trumps any other thing the West may deem more important,” local analyst, Sarko Sila said.

He appealed to the West to allow African nations to enact laws without interference.

– CAJ News

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