The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has directed that committee sittings, debates and voting on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 (anti-LGBTQ+ bill) will be made public to ensure transparency and inclusiveness.
Welcoming MPs from recess to commence the third meeting of the first session of the eight Parliament on Tuesday (26 October), Bagbin gave the assurance that all stakeholders and interested parties will be given the opportunity to share their opinions on the bill.
“The Parliament of Ghana is capable of handling the situation. I’ll assure citizens of this country that we’ll create the enabling environment for all to put across their views. At the end of the day the processes of the House will determine the outcome,” Bagbin said.
“And when that is done, I’m convinced that the law that will come out of this, will protect the culture and values of our people and the Ghanaian identity.
“The law agrees that we also take into consideration the human rights and freedoms that have been guaranteed under our constitution and it’s a law that takes into consideration the richness of the common sense, human decency and morality, fact and logic. And at the end of the day it’s a law that will bring and transform this country into something else. Let’s allow all stakeholders to participate in the deliberations of this House,” he said.
He added: “I know Ghanaians are expectant and I know we’ve over 100 petitions before the committee of constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs. It’s not only Africa but the whole world is looking for the outcome of this bill, so we’ll not just allow people to come and delay the process. We’ll make the process public and the decision of this House will be public. We’ll want to know where each Member of Parliament stands.”
Violation of human rights
A group of 18 prominent Ghanaian citizens has rejected the anti-gay bill in Parliament, saying it constitutes an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability and human dignity” of the LGBTQI community.
The first reading of the anti-LGBTQI Bill took place on 2 August 2021 in Parliament, and its consideration is expected to resume in November 2021.
It was initiated by some six MPs, led by the opposition MP Sam George. The new law seeks to criminalise lesbianism and sex between men in Ghana.
The group of prominent citizens, led by the renowned legal practitioner Akoto Ampaw, said the anti-LGBTQI Bill “violates all the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the 1992 constitution”. The group said that, if passed into law, the proposed legislation would send Ghana to a dark age of lawlessness.
“The bill violates virtually all the key fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the constitution, namely the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble, freedom of association and the right to organise, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to human dignity,” Ampaw said at a press conference on Monday (4 October).