Ghana: varied reactions to Parliament's anti-LGBTQ bill Ghana: varied reactions to Parliament's anti-LGBTQ bill

Ghana: varied reactions to Parliament's anti-LGBTQ bill

Ghana: varied reactions to Parliament's anti-LGBTQ bill

A bill that criminalizes LGBTQ+ people in Ghana and their supporters received international condemnation on Thursday after it passed Parliament, with the United Nations calling it "deeply troubling" and urging that it not become law.

In a statement, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, said the bill expands the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people simply for who they are , and threatens criminal sanctions against those perceived as their allies.

The bill, which was passed by the Ghanaian Parliament on Wednesday, was first introduced three years ago.

It criminalizes relationships, sexual activities and acts of affection, in public, between people of the same sex.

It also targets their supporters and the promotion and funding of activities related to the LGBTQ+ community.

Those convicted face up to ten years in prison.

The bill has been sent to the president's desk for signing.

Ghana has generally been seen as more respectful of human rights than most African countries, but since the legislation was passed by Parliament, international condemnation has increased.

Audrey Gadzekpo, head of the Center for Democratic Development, called the legislation "an absolute necessity."

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any bill from Parliament must be consistent with the Constitution, and we do not believe this bill is,” she added.

The United States said it is deeply troubled by the bill, saying it threatens the freedom of expression of Ghanaians and urges that its constitutionality be examined, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

In a radio interview, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, said he would not advise the president to sign a bill that does not respect the constitution.

LGBTQ+ people in Ghana say they are worried about the safety of those around them, such as healthcare providers, as well as themselves.

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