Sunday, 21 April

Anti-LGBTQI bill: Ghana won’t ‘backslide’ on ‘enviable’ human rights record – Akufo-Addo assures diplomatic community

Politics
President Nana Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he is aware that last week’s bi-partisan passage by Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a Private Member’s motion, “has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law”.

“I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned”, Mr Akufo-Addo said at the New Year greetings event with members of the Diplomatic Corps at Peduase.

The president indicated that he was yet to be given a copy of the bill, adding that he would act on it after the Supreme Court hears a case filed about the constitutionality of the approved bill.

“I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk”, Mr Akufo-Addo said.

“But, suffice it to say, that I have learnt that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation”.

“In the circumstances, it would be, as well, for all of us to hold our hands, and await the decision of the Court before any action is taken. The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country”, he mentioned.

In the meantime, Ghana’s Finance Ministry has warned that assenting to the bill will affect the country’s benefits from the Bretton Woods institutions.

In a press release issued on Monday, 4 March 2024, the ministry said Ghana stands to lose some $3.8 billion in financial support from the World Bank if President Nana Akufo-Addo assents to the bill

Before the ministry's warning, US Ambassador to Ghana Virginia Evelyn Palmer, warned that the bill would damage the country’s international reputation and economy.

She wrote: “I am saddened because some of the smartest, most creative, most decent people I know are LGBT. The bill Parliament passed takes away not only their basic human rights but those of all Ghanaians because it undermines their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press".

“It will be bad for public order and public health. If enacted, it will also hurt Ghana’s international reputation and Ghana’s economy.”

She said: “Lots of ethnic communities make Ghana strong, stable, and attractive for investments. I hope it stays that way with regard to the LGBTQ community. They should be managed to be made the colour of the money green or red if it’s Ghanaian, but if there is discrimination, then that will send a signal not to [only] LGBTQ investors and exporters but to other American companies that Ghana is less welcoming than I am telling people that it is now.”

The bill criminalises LGBT activities and prohibits their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

Under the bill, individuals engaged in such activities face a jail term ranging from six months to three years, while promoters and sponsors could be sentenced to three to five years.

Before its passage, sponsors of the bill initiated a motion for further consideration, with lead sponsor Samuel Nartey George proposing amendments to clauses 10 and 11 concerning editorial policies of media firms, aligning them with Article 12 of the 1992 constitution, which guarantees freedom of the media. 

The House approved these amendments.

However, a motion filed by Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin to subject clause 12, addressing the funding of LGBT activities, to the constitution was rejected by the House.

 

 

 

 

Source: ClassFMonline.com