Wednesday 28 February 2024

‘Necessary Action’: Ghanaian Parliament Passes Bill Making It Illegal To Identify As LGBT

 The Parliament of the West African nation Ghana passed a bill banning its citizens from identifying as LGBT and imposing strict legal penalties on those who fail to comply.

The bill passed with the support of both major parties and now awaits the signature of President Nana Akufo-Addo, BBC reported. The Ghanaian leader has reportedly indicated that he would sign the bill, the outlet noted. 

International bodies and NGOs have expressed concern about the legislation.

“If Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill becomes a law, it will exacerbate fear and hatred, could incite violence against fellow Ghanaian citizens, and will negatively impact on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association,” said Winnie Byanyima, who heads the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, according to BBC. 

In January, Amnesty International warned that the bill “poses significant threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms,” the outlet noted.  

The bill would impose prison sentences of up to three years for identifying as LGBT, up to five years for the “willful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities” and up to 10 years for directing LGBT messages at children, according to BBC and Reuters, which noted that Ghana already punishes gay sex with up to three years in prison.

The legislation also encourages the public to step up and report LGBTQ activity to government officials, who would then take “necessary action,” BBC noted. 

The bill’s sponsors included Christians, Muslim and “Ghanaian traditional leaders,” Reuters noted. 

LGBT lifestyles are “alien to the Ghanaian culture and family value system and, as such, the citizens of this nation cannot accept it,” the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council said in a joint statement, according to BBC.

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