Activism

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Activists Protest Outside Ghana’s High Commission in South Africa, Urging Rejection of Ghana’s Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024

Pretoria, 6 March 2024 — Today, on a global day of protest marking Ghana’s Independence Day, activists representing the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Gender Dynamix, and Health GAP gathered outside the Republic of Ghana’s High Commission to South Africa. Their aim: to call on Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to reject the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024. The activists delivered a memorandum to the High Commission, emphasising their concerns.

Belinda Qaqamba from Gender Dynamix stated, “Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill constitutes an undermining of fundamental human rights, press freedom, democracy, and equality, and it must be halted. Ghana’s Constitution upholds the rights to equality, non-discrimination, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and more. Instead of undermining the right to identify as LGBTQ+, President Akufo-Addo should resist the pressure from extremists advocating for this reprehensible bill and unequivocally reject it.”

The activists expressed dismay of the dogmatic wave of the anti-gender and anti-rights movements that is now spilling across Africa, targeting especially religious countries to criminalise queer and trans-identifying persons. They further pointed out the involvement of American extremist Christian organisations, which have vigorously promoted the enactment of this bill. Notably, in 2019, the World Congress of Families convened in Accra, advocating for an agenda of anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice and hatred.

In addition to the protest in Pretoria, similar demonstrations took place in Ghana and at Ghana’s High Commissions in London, Copenhagen, and Ottawa.

“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 for LGBTQ+ rights or supporting LGBTQ+ groups,” remarked Phillimon Twala from the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). 

If ratified, this bill would intensify the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ identity, subjecting individuals to imprisonment for up to three years. Ghana’s existing penal code already criminalises same-sex sexual activity.

Supporting LGBTQ+ individuals could lead to imprisonment for up to ten 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.

“This reprehensible bill represents a grave affront to 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 James Oladipo, from TAC. “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.”

For media inquiries, please contact:

Xabisa Qwabe | Treatment Action Campaign | xabisa.qwabe@tac.org.za.www517.jnb3.host-h.net | +27 76 850 6736

Belinda Qaqamba | Gender Dynamix | advocacy3@genderdynamix.org.za | +27 67 213 9758

Notes for media

Below are a selection of quotes from activists in Ghana on the Bill: 

Rightify Ghana

“This legislation represents a blatant disregard for the principles of democracy and human rights enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana. It infringes on fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and expression, the right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and more. Moreover, the Bill threatens to exacerbate existing inequalities by further marginalising LGBTQ+ individuals and restricting their access to essential services such as education, healthcare, housing, and employment.”

Alex Donkor, LGBT Rights Ghana

“It not only legalizes discrimination but also fosters an environment of fear and persecution,” he said. “With harsh penalties for both LGBTQ individuals and activists, this bill threatens the safety and well-being of an already vulnerable community.”

https://www.dw.com/en/ghanas-parliament-passes-anti-lgbtq-law/a-68399863

Angel Maxine, Musician

“Queer people should not be criminalized. We should be given the freedom to live, like any other human being, like any other Ghanaian. It breaks my heart that this bill is passed.”

Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, rights activist with the Center for Democratic Development in Accra

“We are sort of disappointed that parliament didn’t take it seriously. We know that there is a lot of pressure within parliament because of the way the issue was framed. So even those who know the dangers of the bill couldn’t come out against the bill.”

https://www.dw.com/en/ghana-lgbtq-people-in-fear-after-passage-of-discriminatory-law/a-68409697

The “Big 18” and Human Rights Coalition

“Human rights are not dependent on majority approval or disapproval, therefore, the

assertion by proponents of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill that because the majority of Ghanaians

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