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Ghana to strengthen anti-LGBT laws

Ghana to strengthen anti-LGBT laws

moses foh amoaning

A religious coalition in Ghana is attempting to push through a new bill criminalizing the LGBT community in the African country.

Although same-sex activity is already illegal in Ghana, the bill, entitled ‘Comprehensive Solution Based Legislative Framework for Dealing with the Lesbianism Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Phenomenon’, seeks to place LGBT people into one of two categories of behaviour. Their category would determine what punishment or treatment they receive.

Mr Moses Foh Amoaning, a spokesman for the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, has stated that the bill would be put before Parliament in September this year.

The coalition drafting the bill is made up of Ghana’s three main religious bodies – the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Muslim Council and Amadhiya community, and the Traditional Rulers.

‘Some become homosexual because of peer pressure, economic reasons, then, the medically affected ones like hormonal imbalance, such people need help, so we would provide such help for them through the Ghana Health Service,’ Mr Amoaning said, ‘by setting up a comprehensive unit that has a psychiatric, psychologist, medical personnel, surgical team, guidance and counsellors then Gospel Ministers to help them.

‘But for those who think it is a lifestyle and they want others to get involved, the law will deal with them because we will clearly define what homosexuality is, what LGBT entails, and if they are caught, they will be prosecuted.’’

Theresa May ‘regrets’ UK’s role in anti-LGBT laws

Mr Amoaning said that the bill is a response to pressure from Western politicians and LGBT groups for African countries to decriminalize homosexuality.

Prime Minister Theresa May recently urged Commonwealth nations to rethink their laws surrounding the issue, claiming that she ‘deeply regrets’ the UK’s role in promoting anti-LGBT legislation throughout the former colonies. She offered aid to any Commonwealth country that did away with such legislation.

May’s comments sparked a backlash in Ghana. Apostle Professor Opoku Onyinah decried her calls for decriminalization as ‘neo-colonialism’, and promised to protest any attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana.

Ghanian president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated last month that there would be no attempt to decriminalize homosexuality, and Speaker of Parliament Aaron Mike Oquaye said that he would rather resign than preside over any legislation that sought to improve the rights of LGBT people.

Of the 53 Commonwealth member states, 37 maintain laws criminalizing LGBT people, including Ghana.

Section 104 of Ghana’s Criminal Code describes same-sex sexual conduct as ‘unnatural carnal knowledge’, and those who are caught or suspected of engaging in same-sex sexual activity can face prison sentences. Police are known to commonly arrest and beat those accused of being LGBT, and violent mob attacks on individuals are also heard of.