Saturday, 20 April

LGBTQ: Reconsider passage of the Bill which criminalises persons – Human rights coalition

General News
Despite Parliament’s rejection of the proposal, the human rights coalition says it appreciates the efforts of the MP aimed at reforming the justice system to foster rehabilitation and reduce incarceration rates

Human Rights Coalition, and the ‘Big 18’ have commended Effutu Member of Parliament (MP) Afenyo Markin for submitting a proposal to Parliament for the amendment of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021, popularly called the Anti-LGBTQI Bill, to substitute community service for incarceration ahead of the passage of the Bill by the house of legislature.

Despite Parliament’s rejection of the proposal, the human rights coalition says it appreciates the efforts of the MP aimed at reforming the justice system to foster rehabilitation and reduce incarceration rates.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, 27 February 2024, the groups noted that: “This stance reflects a recognition of the inherent dignity and rights of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It also affirms the position articulated by Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, who has emphasised the importance of not criminalising individuals simply for their sexual orientation.”

The group, however, restated its opposition to the bill alluding reasons such as: “the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill violates key fundamental human rights provisions in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. In one swoop, this Bill seeks to infringe on, among others, the rights to dignity, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to partake in processions, academic freedom, equality and nondiscrimination”.

The group emphasised that these “rights and freedoms constitute the bedrock of any constitutional democracy and any attempt to tinker with them will set a dangerous precedent for our democracy and must be of great concern to all Ghanaians”.

It stressed that the country is a “secular and multi-religious country with over 50 ethnic groups with different cultural practices and beliefs. Any attempt to create a single cultural value system for Ghana erases the beautiful cultural mosaic that makes us a unique people.

“We are aware that some religious communities may find LGBTQ+ activities offensive and classify them as sinful. It is within their right to freedom of thought and religious practice to take such a stance. However, Ghana's secular democratic organisation allows and encourages diversity and inclusivity. For this reason, when the Constitution makes provisions for, among other things, freedom of religion, it does not prescribe nor impose a singular religious faith on the country but allows for people to profess, belong to, adopt and manifest their religion of choice. Any attempt to criminalise what some regard as a sin through the instrumentality of the State, violates the long-standing principle of separation of Church and State.,” while adding it “would also constitute a state-sanctioned imposition of the religious views of one segment of the Ghanaian society onto those who may not share them”.

Source: classfmonline.com