Amnesty International, one of the major international organizations opposed to Ghana’s “extreme” Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill has raised concerns about the proposed custodial sentence in the bill for people engaged in LGBTQ+ activities.
Genevieve Partington, the Ghana Director of Amnesty International, in an interview with Citi News, expressed concerns about certain clauses she describes as ambiguous and called for the legislation to be withdrawn.
“Where they were speaking about the promotion of LGBTQ activities, as Amnesty and human rights activists, we work within the space and advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community members. Promotion specifically in the bill is an ambiguous clause because what exactly do you mean by promotion?,” Partington said. “In Ghana, there are organisations that work around LGBTQI issues and they do not promote their activities. What they do is, they advocate for the rights of this marginalised group ”.
She also stated her organization’s clear stance on the bill.
“Amnesty International, we are completely against the bill. It should not even exist in the first place because it criminalises people for simply existing. You do not criminalise people because they do not subscribe to your moral standards” she added.
Ghana’s Parliament on Thursday approved a custodial sentence of a minimum of three (3) years and a maximum of five (5) years for the wilful promotion, sponsorship, or support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ (LGBTQ+) activities in the country.
This approval was part of an amendment to the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, also known as the anti-gay bill.
In the same bill, anyone found engaging in LGBTQ+ practices will be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months, with the potential for up to 3 years imprisonment.
In July 2023, Parliament unanimously passed the anti-gay bill which has been described by many local and international organizations as an “extreme” legislation that tightens the laws against members of Ghana’s LGBTQ+ community.
The bill is set to criminalize the promotion, advocacy, funding and acts of homosexuality. It stiffens prison terms up to ten years in prison for LGBTQ+ advocates and three years for anyone identifying as such. Moreover, the bill seeks to withdraw health services from this community, including HIV medication.
Amnesty International is an international human rights advocacy movement with headquarters in London that has vehemently opposed the LGBTQ Bill since its first reading in Parliament in 2021.