Ghana Enacts Legislation Criminalizing LGBTQ+ Identification

February 28, 2024
ghana lgbt | Report Focus News
ghana lgbt

Ghana’s parliament has enacted stringent new legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, with provisions for up to three years in prison for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and up to five years for individuals involved in forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups. The bill, showcasing the growing resistance to LGBTQ+ rights in the conservative West African nation, faced opposition from lawmakers advocating for non-custodial sentences, such as community service and counseling, but such attempts were overwhelmingly rejected.

The legislation, supported by both of Ghana’s main political parties, awaits President Nana Akufo-Addo’s signature to become law. President Akufo-Addo has previously stated he would sign the bill if it reflected the will of the majority of Ghanaians. This development follows Amnesty International’s warning last month that the bill significantly threatens the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Activists are now concerned about potential witch-hunts against the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters, with fears that many will be forced into hiding. The bill also prescribes up to 10 years in prison for anyone involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy aimed at children and encourages public reporting of LGBTQ+ individuals for “necessary action.”

The proposal was sparked by the opening and subsequent closure of Ghana’s first LGBTQ+ community center in Accra in 2021, amid protests and pressure from religious and traditional leaders. The Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council have declared LGBTQ+ identities as incompatible with Ghanaian cultural and family values.

Despite being a toned-down version of its original draft, the approved bill still imposes significant penalties and removes a controversial clause on conversion therapy. During the debate, suggestions for alternative sentencing were dismissed, reinforcing the parliament’s stance on prison sentences for LGBTQ+ convictions.