The Big 18 and Human Rights Coalition Oppose Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill Passage

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Coalition

The “Big 18” and Human Rights Coalition has called upon the Ghanaian Parliament to reconsider the impending passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021, more commonly known as the Anti-LGBTQI Bill.

The groups voiced their concerns as the parliament signaled its intention to pass the controversial legislation as early as February 28, 2024.

The coalition highlighted the rejection of proposed amendments by Member of Parliament for Efutu, Mr. Afenyo-Markin, aimed at substituting community service for incarceration.

Despite facing opposition from the majority, Afenyo-Markin’s efforts were acknowledged for seeking justice reforms that prioritize rehabilitation and reduce incarceration rates.

Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Board Chair of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), addressing the media in Accra on behalf of the coalition, emphasized the detrimental impact of the proposed legislation and urged parliament to reconsider the passage of the bill.

The coalition reiterated their initial objections to the Bill, emphasizing that it infringes upon fundamental human rights guaranteed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.

The rights include dignity, freedom of speech, association, procession, academic freedom, equality, and non-discrimination – all crucial components of a constitutional democracy.

One key point raised was the violation of Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution, which prohibits private members’ bills imposing charges on the public purse. The coalition urged the president not to assent to the Bill on these grounds.

The diverse nature of Ghana, with over 50 ethnic groups and various cultural practices and beliefs, was emphasized as a reason to reject the proposed legislation.

The coalition argued that attempting to impose a single cultural value system erases the country’s unique cultural mosaic.

Religious freedom was also highlighted, pointing out that while some communities may find LGBTQ+ activities offensive, Ghana’s secular democratic structure encourages diversity and inclusivity. Criminalizing such activities would violate the principle of the separation of Church and State.

The coalition expressed concern that the Bill would infringe upon media and press freedoms by punishing citizens who broadcast or post content related to LGBTQ+ activities.

The potential imprisonment of up to three years for such actions would severely restrict journalists, bloggers, influencers, and social media users in the field of human rights.

However, the coalition urged all Ghanaians to uphold the rights of all citizens, warning that the passage of the Anti-LGBTQI Bill would not only depart from domestic and international human rights standards but also undermine the fundamental rights of journalists and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression for all.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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