Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Ghana Passes Bill Criminalizing LGBTQ+ Identification

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Ghana’s parliament has passed a new bill that imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTQ+. The bill also enforces a maximum imprisonment of five years for those involved in the formation or financing of LGBTQ+ organizations.

This development underscores the escalating resistance to LGBTQ+ rights within Ghana, a traditionally conservative West African nation. The bill, which had the backing of Ghana’s two major political parties, will come into effect only if President Nana Akufo-Addo signs it into law.

Homosexual activity is already illegal in Ghana, carrying a three-year prison term. Last month Amnesty International warned that the bill “poses significant threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms” of LGBTQ+ people.

Activists fear there will now be witch-hunts against members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who campaign for their rights, and say some will have to go into hiding.

The proposed legislation suggests a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years for individuals engaged in LGBTQ+ advocacy targeted at children. Furthermore, it encourages the public to report LGBTQ+ community members to authorities for “appropriate measures.”

Members of Parliament stated that the bill was formulated in reaction to the establishment of Ghana’s inaugural LGBTQ+ community hub in Accra, the capital, in January 2021. 

Following public demonstrations and urging from religious and traditional leaders in the predominantly Christian country, law enforcement closed down the centre. During that period, the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council issued a joint declaration asserting that LGBTQ+ identification was “foreign to Ghanaian culture and familial values,” and hence unacceptable to the nation’s populace.

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