YouTube: Bloomberg
YouTube: Bloomberg

The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has called on parliament to act with “tolerance” regarding the proposed anti-LGBTQ+ law. 

Earlier this year, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was introduced to the Ghanian parliament.

In the proposal, it states that “any person who deviates from an arbitrary standard of sexual orientation or gender identity is immediately to be considered dangerous, sick or anti-social.”

If the controversial law passes, LGBTQ+ people or individuals who “hold out” for the queer community can face five to ten-year prison sentences.

Medical care for trans people will also be at risk due to the law criminalising anyone giving care to individuals undergoing gender-affirming treatment. 

During an interview with Peace FM, Akufo-Addo encouraged lawmakers to take part in a “civil” debate when addressing the terrifying bill.

“What I would hope for is that the debate itself be civil, that we will recognise the need for us to be tolerant of each other even when there are opposing views,” he said.

“I think it will be a credit to Ghanian democracy if this matter is handled in the correct manner.” 

Akufo-Addo’s comments come two months after UN expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz called the law “textbook discrimination.” 

In a press release, Madrigal-Borloz and 11 of his colleagues condemned the bill, stating: “[It] promotes harmful practices that amount to ill-treatment and are conducive to torture, such as so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and other heinous violations like unnecessary medical procedures on internet children, and so-called corrective rape for women.”

Madrigal-Borloz and nine other U.N. experts have also relayed their concerns to the U.N. in Geneva with a letter listing the dangers of the legislation. 

“We express our grave concern about the draft bill, which seems to establish a system of state-sponsored discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons of great magnitude,” they wrote.

“As such, the bill appears to constitute an immediate and fundamental breach of Ghana’s obligations under international human rights law.

“Given that LGBTI people are present in every family and every community, it is not very difficult to imagine how, if it were to be adopted, this legislation could create a recipe for conflict and violence.”

Before the horrifying bill was introduced, Ghana had already showcased a long history of criminalising same-sex relationships. 

In 2018, the Human Rights Watch issued a report that documented violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in Ghana.

The report revealed that homosexuality is banned under the Criminal Offences Act, however, the laws are believed to be a result of colonial legacy and are rarely enforced.