Two separate documents were sent to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament to challenge the Promotion of Appropriate Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021.
The bill has been labeled anti-LGBT, but its proponents say it is in the nation’s interest that an appropriate legal framework makes it illegal to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
The bill is currently before the parliamentary committee which has since invited citizens to submit documents indicating their position on the bill.
In view of this, two groups, the Human Rights Coalition and a Coalition of lawyers, academics and other professionals subsequently submitted their petitions against the bill.
Human Rights Coalition Petition
The Human Rights Coalition petition is signed by the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, on behalf of 9 groups, including the African Center for International Law and Accountability and Alliance for equality and diversity.
The coalition says the bill is in direct conflict with a number of constitutionally protected fundamental freedoms and human rights.
Again, the Coalition argues that the provisions of the bill are inconsistent with a number of international human rights instruments to which Ghana is a state party.
“The bill will certainly have a negative impact on Ghana’s reputation internationally and will have a direct impact on its relations with many foreign countries as well as on its ability to attract foreign aid, foreign investors and tourists.
“The bill could be seen as support for state-sponsored discrimination. “
The group further pointed out that the bill, if passed, would deride the supreme law of the land and go beyond making the lives of LGBTQ + people extremely uncomfortable.
According to the group, the freedom of LGBTQ + people would be at stake by the mere fact of their existence and would have a significant impact on their ability to freely engage in everyday life.
“LGBTQ + people would no longer benefit from the community support and assistance received from allies and donors, assistance that provided them with a physical, emotional and psychological lifeline.
“It is the considered position of the Human Rights Coalition that the Ghanaian Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Promotion Bill 2021 is hopelessly flawed, unconstitutional and unnecessary. It does not address any relevant cultural, socio-economic or political challenges facing the country, as private members’ bills were intended to address. “
They therefore ask the Committee not to recommend its adoption.
The other memorandum sent to Parliament is signed by private lawyer Akoto Ampaw, university professor Emerita Takyiwaa Manuh, professor Kwame KariKari, professor Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, professor Audrey Gadzekpo, professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, professor Raymond Atuguba, among others.
This group argues that the bill criminalizes dissenting opinions and expressions contrary to the words “freedom and justice” “which bear our coat of arms.
Thus, “the bill should, with respect, be firmly rejected by the Special Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and by Parliament as a whole.”