The leader of a group of professionals fighting against the passage of an anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Ghana, lawyer Akoto Ampaw, has stated that the populist approach being used in pursuit of LGBTQ+ criminalisation is a dangerous path for Ghana.
According to lawyer Ampaw, the basis of the bill which he and his group argue threatens the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons.
He, however, holds the view that such a justification for passing the bill into law sets the country on a dangerous path of precedent as it could prove fatal to the rights of any other minority group in the country going forward.
“The case is being made that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians do not like gays and therefore there should be a law against them. But we are saying that look, we are treading a very slippery road because if the view of Ghanaians is that anything that the overwhelming majority do not like should be criminalized, it means that the constitution has no place.”
And it means that today, a small minority group like the LGBTQ have been targeted and their very existence criminalized. Tomorrow, God forbid it could be some small religious group that people don’t like, they will criminalise them contrary to the constitution. The next day it will be other minorities in the society,” he stated on GTV’s Breakfast Show monitored by GhanaWeb.
Parliament is expected to discuss a Private Member’s bill submitted by some eight MPs.
The 38-page bill before parliament, among other things, stipulates that, people of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction, to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”
The Bill targets persons who “hold out as a lesbian, a gay, a transgender, a transsexual, a queer, a pansexual, an ally, a non-binary or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.”
The Bill also targets promoters and advocates of LGBTQ+ rights including “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill” as well as a person who “promotes, supports sympathy for or a change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the Bill.”
As part of its provisions, the Bill outlines that a flouter can be sentenced to a jail term of not less than six years or not more than ten years imprisonment.
At the back of the public support the Bill has received, a group of academicians and other professionals have expressed their opposition to the bill.
According to the group of 18, the bill, ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’, when passed into law, would erode a raft of fundamental human rights, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Members of the group opposing the anti-gay bill include Mr Akoto Ampaw; author, scholar and former Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Prof. Emerita Takyiwaa Manuh; a communications and media expert, Prof. Kwame Karikari; the Dean of the University of Ghana (Legon) School of Law, Prof. Raymond Atuguba, and the Dean of the University of Ghana School of Information and Communication Studies, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo.
The Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata; the Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, and a former Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Prof. Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, are also members of the group.
Others are Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Dr Yao Graham, Mr Kwasi Adu Amankwah, Dr Kojo Asante, Mr Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, Mr Akunu Dake, Mr Tetteh Hormeku-Ajie, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Dr Joseph Asunka and Nana Ama Agyemang Asante.
Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill: “Ghana is treading a very slippery road. ” #GTVBreakfast
Akoto Ampaw, Lawyer. pic.twitter.com/deWr9a72bJ
— Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (@thegbcghana) October 13, 2021
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