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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

TAC protests against anti-gay bill that will criminalise homosexuality in Ghana

Gay people in Ghana can get up to three years in prison for simply identifying as gay.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and other NGOs protested outside the Ghanaian High Commission in Pretoria on Wednesday urging Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo not to sign a controversial bill that would lead to the mass arrests of gay people in Ghana.

Anti gay bill against human rights

If ratified the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill will intensify the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ identity, subjecting individuals to imprisonment for up to three years for identifying as gay.

ALSO READ: Ghana parliament passes anti-LGBTQ bill

Ghana’s existing laws already criminalises same-sex sexual activity.

Supporting LGBTQ+ individuals could lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years, while community support for LGBTQ+ causes would be criminalised. Notably, advocacy, support, and funding for LGBTQ+ groups would also incur criminal liability, carrying sentences of up to 10 years in prison. The bill also undermines media freedoms by penalising those reporting on LGBTQ+ related activities with potential imprisonment for up to three years.

South African activists used Ghana’s Independence Day, March 6, to protest against the bill. Similar protests were held in other parts of the world such as the United Kingdom and Canada.

“This legislation constitutes an egregious attack on the human rights of queer and trans Ghanaians. It seeks to criminalise LGBTQ+ individuals, their communities, media reporting on LGBTQ+ issues, and those advocating LGBTQ+ rights or supporting LGBTQ+ groups,” said TAC’s Philemon Twala.

International religious organisations influence

According to the activists there was a notable movement in Africa which was promoting anti-gay sentiments and influencing conservative religious African countries such as Ghana.

ALSO READ: Outcry as Uganda’s anti-gay bill signed into law

They further pointed out the involvement of American extremist Christian organisations, which have vigorously promoted the enactment of this bill.

Another activist from the TAC, James Oladipo, said the controversial bill represents a grave attack on the dignity and humanity of queer and trans Ghanaians.

“The South African government must not remain silent in the face of this disgraceful legislation,” stated Oladipo.

Oladipo said the TAC would continue to raise awareness about the dangers of the bill in solidarity with the gay community in west Africa.

“We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ Ghanaian comrades, unwavering in our commitment to fight for the human rights, equality, and freedoms they rightfully deserve,” he said.

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