06.03.24.STATEMENT ON THE PROPER HUMAN SEXUAL RIGHTS AND GHANAIAN FAMILY VALUES BILL, 2021

On the 28th February 2024, the Parliament of Ghana passed a deeply problematic and overwhelmingly disturbing anti-queer Bill. The Bill outlines severe criminal sanctions for consensual same-sex conduct along with the criminalization of individuals and organizations (allies) who advocate for, and support the rights of members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual, Queer and Intersex community (LGBTQIA+). The objectives of the Bill as outlined in clause 5 are to “provide for proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values…” Yet, from Clause 1-16, the Bill is clear that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are deemed to be less than human, in that they are not deserving of human and sexual rights and protections. Additionally, the concept of a supposedly ideal/desirable Ghanaian family structure continues to attempt to force a homogenization of the complex, multiconfiguration of the family. This will continue to exclude, even those Ghanaians, who do not fall within the binary definitions of family, from belonging.

While the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 uses “threat to the concept of family and associated value systems central to the social structure of all ethnic groups in Ghana” as grounds to justify the criminalization of same-sex activity, and those supporting the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons, the Bill itself is a setback for the attainment and protection of human rights of all persons in general and LGBTQIA+ persons in particular. The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo should refuse to sign this Bill into Law. Should the Bill become a law, it will incite violence causing an increase of fear and hatred towards members of the LGBTQIA+ community, their family members and allies. This will in turn result in the distancing of members of the LBGTQIA+ from accessing vital health and social services – exacerbating existing stigmas and discriminations and affecting global health.

BONELA notes with concern a briefing by Amnesty International dated 9 January 2024 and titled We are facing extinction”, wherein Amnesty reports on an increase in the use and weaponization of legal systems on the continent, to target and discriminate against members of the LGBTQI community. This weaponization of legal system has contributed to the global deterioration of human rights and an increase in attacks, oppression and hostility towards the community resulting in threats to their safety and wellbeing. Additionally, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioners media statement dated 24 March 2022, warns of the risk faced by those whose working to end violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. In light of this warning, the Ghanaian Bill places a target on the backs of human right defenders working in country. 

BONELA continues to stands in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ and International community in demanding that the rights and protections, enshrined in the International Bill of Rights, be extended to the LGBTQIA+ community. Human Rights Watch reported that to date, the Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in Ghana responsible for the review of the Bill, has failed to acknowledge documented submissions by experts, warning that the Bill breaches the rights to dignity; freedom of speech; freedom of association; academic freedom; equality; and non-discrimination as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana. This failure risks the moral decay of the Ghanaian Constitutional Democracy by failing to consider the views and opinions of Ghanaian citizens, during such an important Constitutionally mandated process.

The world continues to bear witness to the deterioration of civil and political rights that infringe on dignity, equality, freedom of speech, movement and association of individuals in countries like Palestine, Sudan, DRC and others around the world. If the world does not stand up for the protection of human rights – there will be no one left to protect.

For more information, contact:

Katlego Sechele
Programs Coordinator
EMAIL: ksechele@bonela.org | Cell: +267 72282025

AND

Tlamelo ‘Mmamohlakoana Mothudi
Advocacy Officer
EMAIL: tlamelom@bonela.org | Cell: +267 75569078/ WhatsApp: +27 71 256 8254