The United States of America Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer has raised concerns over Ghana’s proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bill before Parliament.
She has advised Ghanaian lawmakers to respect international obligations and domestic laws which centre on the need to protect the rights of all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
According to her, “We are not commenting on the morality of this. We are just asking for people’s rights to be respected so that they be left peaceful and free from harm.”
“I think it is a political hot potato and I think in some ways it is being used as a political hot potato and what I am saying is that I hope that Ghana’s citizens, Ghana’s parliamentarians, Ghana’s leaders will respect Ghana’s Constitution and its international obligations to which it is a signatory,” she said on Joy News.
Earlier, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin is reported to have given the anti-LGBTQI+ bill the green light to be passed.
Bagbin kicked against the threat of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ+) activities in the country.
He warned diplomats and other organisations threatening some MPs behind a private members’ bill that has been submitted to the legislature to amend and tighten the grey areas in the current law on the phenomenon, as well as prescribe sanctions to be meted out to violators of the law.
US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer
The anti-LGBTQ bill, titled, “The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021”, was submitted to Parliament in June 2021.
The bill, among others, seeks to make it a crime to be LGBTQ+ or to advocate LGBTQ+ rights. Offenders could face jail terms.
However, the submission of the bill to Parliament elicited a major public debate over its appropriateness.
Many religious organisations and like-minded institutions and individuals have expressed their full support for the bill to be passed into law while some civil society organisations (CSOs) and other campaigners had opposed it with the explanation that it would infringe on the human rights of LGBTQ+ people in the country, and subject them to persecution and violence.