Ghana Passes Bill Criminalizing All LGBTQ+ People

Ghana Passes Bill Criminalizing All LGBTQ+ People

Ghana’s parliament has unanimously passed a bill criminalizing all LGBTQ+ people. Once approved by President Nana Akufo-Addo, the bill will not only make it a crime to identify as LGBTQ+ or engaged in same-sex activity, but it will also increase jail time for those advocating for LGBTQ+ rights from three to five years, according to Pink News. Criminalized acts will include funding and promoting LGBTQ+ causes, failure to report an LGBTQ+ person to authorities, publication of pro-LGBTQ+ content on social platforms, public displays of affection, and more.

Global backlash followed the passage of the archaic and draconian bill. The United Nations has called the bill “profoundly disturbing,” and the U.S. State Department has warned the West African nation that the new legislation could  jeopardize aid to the country, according to LGBTQ Nation. 

A statement from the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said the bill “broadens the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, and queer people – simply for being who they are – and threatens criminal penalties against perceived allies of LGBTQ+ people.” Türk also expressed concern over the bill’s potential to criminalize the work of human rights activists, teachers, medical professionals, and more innocent citizens.

Throughout Africa, many countries still strongly oppose LGBTQ+ rights. According to Global Citizen, “nearly half of the countries worldwide where homosexuality is outlawed are in Africa.” And despite some countries legalizing same-sex relationships over the past decade (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Seychelles, Mauritius), there are still some countries in which being LGBTQ+ is a crime punishable by death. 

Despite calls for the bill to be cast aside from the Human Rights Watch and various global human rights organizations, it is expected to be signed into law by President Nana Akufo-Addo who was elected under Ghana’s center-right New Patriotic Party.

Featured image: President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo (Photo by Delali Adogla-Bessa)

Related Post