Ghana’s parliament has passed an anti-LGBTQ law

As of: February 28, 2024 9:58 p.m

Lesbians, gays and queer people in Ghana will face harsher prison sentences in the future than before. Parliament passed a corresponding law. Even supporters should now be punished. Human rights activists are protesting against it.

The parliament in Ghana, West Africa, has passed a controversial law that imposes severe penalties against gay, bisexual and other queer people and their supporters. Accordingly, anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ or supports homosexual activities faces several years in prison.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has yet to ratify the Sexual Human Rights and Family Values ​​Act, which observers say is unlikely to happen before elections in December. Before the vote, Akufo-Addo said he would sign it if the majority of his people wanted it.

The English abbreviation LGBTQ+ stands for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans people and queer people – the plus sign is a placeholder for other identities and genders.

Criticism also from the UN AIDS program

Previously, homosexual activity – such as sex with a person of the same sex – could result in a maximum prison sentence of three years. If the new law comes into force, it would add penalties of up to five years for those found to be promoting, funding or supporting LGBTQ+ activities. Even those who simply identify as gay, lesbian, bi or queer risk several years in prison.

Executive Director of the United Nations Program to Combat AIDS (UNAIDS), Winnie Byanyima, warned that the law would “hinder access to life-saving services, undermine social protection and threaten Ghana’s development success.”

“Threat to fundamental rights”

Human rights activists have long been protesting against the draft, introduced three years ago, which is supported by large parts of the population in Ghana and by Christian, Muslim and other religious communities as well as traditional leaders.

Amnesty International criticized the draft as “a significant threat to the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people”. Ghanaian professor Audrey Gadzekpo, chair of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, described the law as “dangerous and abhorrent” and a threat to human rights protected by the constitution.

Ghana is a very religious country with a majority Christian population. Gay sex is already banned in the West African country. However, there have been no cases of prosecution under the colonial-era law.

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