Ghana’s Parliament Passes Bill Violating Human Rights, Further Infringing on The Human Rights 

In a significant development, Ghana’s parliament has advanced a bill aimed at further restricting the rights of LGBT+ individuals and Ghanaian citizens as a whole. The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill correspondingly criminalizes employers, landlords, teachers, doctors, and human rights defenders.  Currently, engaging in gay sex in Ghana can lead to imprisonment for up to three years, but this could increase to five years under the proposed bill. 

This bill rejects a proposal to replace jail terms for gay sex with non-custodial sentences like counselling. Instead, it seeks to penalize the advocacy for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals with sentences of up to 10 years in prison. 

The passing of this legislation is heeding the actions of  Uganda who have the harshest anti-rights and anti-gender laws of its kind in Africa. With heavy backing from a coalition of Christian, Muslim, and traditional Ghanaian leaders heavily influenced by evangelical powers and money behind the scenes. 

Ruling party lawmaker Alexander Afenyo-Markin withdrew his suggested amendment after it was rejected. Where he expressed concerns that imprisoning individuals for LGBT-related offences could exacerbate the situation rather than address it, thus contradicting the bill’s original purpose.

Last week saw the Ghana parliament go through the 2nd consideration stage of the bill. This paved the way for a 3rd reading when the house came back on 27th Tuesday. On Wednesday the bill was then passed and is waiting for Presidential Nana Akufo-Addo assent which is speculated to be unlikely.

It’s a Human Rights Issue

Last year Cardinal Peter Turkson told BBC that it was time to understand homosexuality. A precise call that adds weight to activists’ plea to learn from Uganda, where apart from the economic and tourism implications, the wave of hate crime, harassment, police brutality, denial of health services and other public services including education, housing is on the rise. This is a human rights issue.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said the passage in the Ghanaian Parliament of the so-called “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024” is profoundly disturbing.

“The bill broadens the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual and queer people – simply for being who they are – and threatens criminal penalties against perceived allies of LGBTQ+ people,” said Türk.

“I call for the bill not to become law. I urge the Ghanaian Government to take steps to ensure everyone can live free from violence, stigma and discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized.”.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *