Ghanaian President Criticized for Not Signing Anti-LGBTQ Bill Despite Claimed Opposition

Ghana's anti-LGBTQ bill faces legal battle as President Akufo-Addo's reluctance to sign it draws criticism, with far-reaching implications for LGBTQ rights and Ghana's human rights record.

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Ghanaian President Criticized for Not Signing Anti-LGBTQ Bill Despite Claimed Opposition

Ghanaian President Criticized for Not Signing Anti-LGBTQ Bill Despite Claimed Opposition

Charles Owusu, a Ghanaian political commentator, has criticized President Nana Akufo-Addo for not signing the controversial anti-LGBTQ legislation passed by the Ghanaian parliament, despite the president's previous claims of opposition to LGBTQ rights. The bill, titled the 'Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Act 2024', threatens to jail LGBTQ persons and allies for up to 5 years for simply identifying as such.

The anti-LGBTQ legislation has faced strong opposition from activists, allies, and civil society organizations, who argue that it will lead to increased persecution, abuse, and discrimination against the LGBTQ community in Ghana. However, influential proponents of the bill, including the former speaker of parliament and lawyer Foh Amoaning, have continued to promote it through media campaigns and public gatherings, often using far-right rhetoric.

Despite the opposition, the bill was passed by the parliament in 2024, allegedly with less than 50 of the quorum voting verbally, after the speaker declined the request for a secret ballot. The unanimous approval has raised concerns about the integrity of the parliamentary process and the true level of support for the discriminatory legislation.

Why this matters: The passage of the anti-LGBTQ bill in Ghana represents a significant setback for human rights and equality in the country. The potential criminalization of LGBTQ identities and the targeting of allies could have devastating consequences for individuals and communities, while also damaging Ghana's international reputation and relationships with Western nations that champion LGBTQ rights.

The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice have filed an affidavit at the High Court, opposing a writ seeking to compel the Speaker of Parliament and the President to act on the LGBTQ bill within seven days. MP Rockson Nelson-Dafeamekpor has filed an application to force the Speaker to submit the bill to the President for assent or rejection within the same period. The case has been adjourned to April 29 for the applicant's lawyer to file a reply to the Attorney General's affidavit in opposition.

As the legal battle over the anti-LGBTQ bill continues, the fate of LGBTQ rights in Ghana hangs in the balance. President Akufo-Addo's apparent reluctance to sign the legislation, despite his claimed opposition to LGBTQ rights, has drawn criticism from figures like Charles Owusu. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining whether the discriminatory bill becomes law or is struck down by the courts, with far-reaching implications for the LGBTQ community and Ghana's commitment to human rights.

Key Takeaways

  • Ghanaian parliament passed anti-LGBTQ bill threatening jail for LGBTQ persons and allies.
  • President Akufo-Addo criticized for not signing the bill despite previous opposition claims.
  • Bill faces strong opposition from activists, allies, and civil society organizations.
  • Attorney General opposes writ seeking to compel action on the bill within 7 days.
  • Fate of LGBTQ rights in Ghana hangs in the balance as legal battle continues.