Rights activists condemn the regulation that may punish LGBTQ folks in addition to those that promote homosexual rights with years in jail.

Ghana’s parliament has voted to cross a controversial invoice to severely prohibit LGBTQ rights, in a transfer that has been condemned by rights activists.

A coalition of non secular and conventional leaders sponsored the laws that’s favoured by most lawmakers and that handed in parliament on Wednesday.

The invoice would punish those that participate in LGBTQ sexual acts, in addition to those that promote the rights of homosexual, lesbian or different non-conventional sexual or gender identities with time in jail.

The invoice, one of many harshest of its sort in Africa, nonetheless needs to be validated by the president earlier than coming into into regulation, which observers consider is unlikely earlier than a normal election in December.

Activist teams have referred to as the “Human Sexual Rights and Household Values” invoice a setback for human rights and urged President Nana Akufo-Addo’s authorities to reject it.

However the laws is extensively supported in Ghana, the place Akufo-Addo has stated homosexual marriage won’t ever be allowed whereas he’s in energy.

Generally known as the anti-gay invoice, it obtained sponsorship from a coalition comprising Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian conventional leaders, discovering substantial backing amongst members of Parliament.

Homosexual intercourse is already unlawful within the non secular West African nation, however whereas discrimination in opposition to LGBTQ folks is widespread nobody has ever been prosecuted underneath the colonial-era regulation.

Underneath the provisions of the invoice, those that participate in LGBTQ sexual acts might face imprisonment starting from six months to 3 years.

The invoice additionally imposes a jail sentence of three to 5 years for the “wilful promotion, sponsorship, or assist of LGBTQ+ actions”.

Parliamentarians and members of the general public hear as Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo delivers his annual state of the nation tackle to the parliament in Accra, Ghana, March 30, 2022 [Francis Kokoroko/Reuters]

‘Violates human rights’

A human rights coalition often called the Huge 18, an umbrella group of legal professionals and activists in Ghana, has condemned the invoice.

“You can’t criminalise an individual’s identification and that’s what the invoice is doing and it’s completely fallacious,” stated Takyiwaa Manuh, a member of the coalition.

“We wish to impress on the president to not assent to the invoice, it completely violates the human rights of the LGBT neighborhood,” Manuh instructed the AFP information company.

Opposition lawmaker Sam George, the primary sponsor of the invoice, referred to as on Akufo-Addo to assent to it.

“There’s nothing that offers with LGBTQ higher than this invoice that has been handed by parliament. We anticipate the president to stroll his speak and be a person of his phrases,” George stated.

Members of Ghana’s LGBTQ neighborhood are apprehensive concerning the implications of the invoice.

Founder and director of the organisation LGBT+ Rights Ghana Alex Donkor stated, “The passing of this invoice will additional marginalise and endanger LGBTQ people in Ghana.”

“It not solely legalises discrimination but additionally fosters an surroundings of worry and persecution,” he stated.

“With harsh penalties for each LGBTQ people and activists, this invoice threatens the protection and wellbeing of an already weak neighborhood.”

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