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Friday, July 19, 2024

Ghana Parliament Passes Stringent Anti-LGBTQ Law

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Ghana’s parliament passed legislation Wednesday that intensifies a crackdown on the rights of LGBTQ people and those promoting lesbian, gay or other non-conventional sexual or gender identities in the West African country.

Gay sex was already punishable by up to three years in prison. The bill now also imposes a prison sentence of up to five years for the “willful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities.”

The bill is one of the harshest of its kind in Africa.

“My heart is broken and devastated at the moment, that’s all I can say for now” Angel Maxine, Ghana’s first openly transgender musician and LGBTQI+ activist, told Reuters, adding “My pronouns are she/ her/ hers.”

A coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders sponsored the legislation.

Following the vote in parliament, the bill will be presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo after which he has seven days to assent or refuse to assent, according to Ghana’s constitution.

If he assents, the bill becomes law. Akufo-Addo, had avoided the heated debate over the bill, but said he’ll react once it is voted by parliament.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS, said in a statement that the bill would affect everyone if it became law, adding that punitive laws as embodied by the bill, are a barrier to ending AIDS and ultimately undermine everyone’s health.

“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,” Byanyima said in the statement.

“If it becomes law, it will obstruct access to life-saving services, undercut social protection, and jeopardize Ghana’s development success,” she said.

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    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world’s largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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