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Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Amnesty International, has asked Parliament and the government to stop considering the anti-gay bill.
According to the organisation, the bill will trample on human rights if passed.
The anti-gay bill, officially known as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, is a proposed law that has sparked significant controversy within the country and on the international stage.
The bill seeks to criminalise same-sex sexual relationships, including oral sex and anal sex, with penalties ranging from five to ten years in prison.
It will also criminalise the advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, the promotion of same-sex marriage or cohabitation, and the provision of support services to LGBTQ+ individuals.
Additionally, the bill proposes the punishment of individuals or organisations that organize or participate in LGBTQ+ events, provide resources to support LGBTQ+ people, or produce or distribute materials that promote LGBTQ+ rights.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Amnesty International said, “The Ghanaian Parliament and the government should immediately withdraw the proposed Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 from consideration.”
“This Bill gravely contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination, the rights to freedom of expression, association and privacy, and the prohibition of torture enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and international human rights treaties ratified by the country. More specifically, it denies LGBTI persons their inviolable human dignity, guaranteed to all persons under section 15 of the country’s Constitution.”
Amnesty International further indicated that the bill encouraged hatred and intolerance and promoted persecution against people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity
simply because they do not or cannot conform to dominant social and gender norms.
“If passed into law, it intends to impose restrictions and criminal penalties against a range of people, including LGBTI people and anyone who expresses support or sympathy towards LGBTI people. It also places a positive obligation on everyone in Ghana to report any conduct perceived to be of an ‘LGBTI nature’ to the police, or to a list of people in the community in the absence of the police,” it added.
Again, the NGO said the proposed law would impose a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for being LGBTI and a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment for anyone who engages or participates “in an activity that promotes, supports sympathy for, or a change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the Bill.”
“This vague and overbroad provision potentially places anyone in Ghana at risk of being accused under the Bill, and creates an environment of hostility, discrimination, and active stigmatizing of people who are LGBTI or perceived to be such; or anyone linked to them socially, through family, professionally, or otherwise,” it added.