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April 22nd , 2024

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US AMBASSADOR SENDS STRONG WARNING TO GHANA OVER ANTI-LGBTQ+ BILL PASSAGE

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A month ago

U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, has conveyed profound sorrow regarding the passage of Ghana's Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, emphasizing the profound impact it will have on the rights of LGBTQ individuals as well as all citizens of Ghana.


Palmer underscored that the bill not only encroaches upon fundamental human rights but also undermines constitutional liberties such as freedom of expression, assembly, and press freedom. She cautioned against the detrimental repercussions the bill could engender on public order, public health, Ghana's global standing, and its economic stability.


"I am saddened because some of the smartest, most creative, most decent people I know are LGBT. The bill Parliament passed takes away not only their basic human rights but those of all Ghanaians because it undermines their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. It will be bad for public order and public health. If enacted, it will also hurt Ghana’s international reputation and Ghana’s economy.”


The legislation, aimed at criminalizing LGBTQ activities within Ghana, proposes stringent penalties, including imprisonment, for individuals involved in such activities as well as for LGBTQ advocacy efforts. Additionally, it seeks to prohibit the promotion of LGBTQ rights, organizations, and events within the country. Despite endeavors by certain members of Parliament to amend the bill citing human rights concerns, it ultimately passed following a contentious session.


During the bill's consideration, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin's endeavors to introduce amendments in the second consideration stage were rebuffed by the Minority, prompting the Speaker to proceed to the third consideration stage, where the bill was adopted through a voice vote.


At present, the bill awaits President Akufo-Addo's endorsement to officially become law. Preceding its passage, several amendments were made to the bill, including the establishment of a minimum custodial sentence of three years and a maximum of five years for promoters and sympathizers.


Individuals directly engaged in LGBTQ activities will be subject to a minimum sentence of six months, extendable to a maximum of three years. This development marks a significant milestone in Ghana's legislative landscape, with potential ramifications extending beyond legal boundaries to encompass societal norms, international relations, and the protection of human rights for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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