‘Recipe for violence’: UN experts condemn Ghana’s anti-LGBT+ bill

The national flag of Ghana, where being LGBT+ is heavily criminalised.

The United Nations has condemned Ghana’s anti-LGBT+ bill as a “recipe for violence” as activists decry lawmakers for “losing their sense of humanity”.

In a statement issued Thursday (4 August) on the UN Human Rights Office for the High Commissioner website, the organisation’s top human rights experts pleaded for Ghana’s government to reject the bill, which is currently winding through parliament.

The “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021” would introduce a raft of policies punishing everything from sex toys and anal intercourse to trans healthcare and LGBT+ allyship.

The legislation, the experts said, is “a textbook example of discrimination” and is akin to torture.

Among the list of things that the bill would criminalise: two people of the same gender kissing on the cheek or holding hands and those who have provided or received gender-affirming healthcare.

“The proposed law promotes deeply 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 intersex children, and so-called corrective rape for women,” they said.

Ghana law ‘is the result of a deep loathing’, says UN panel

Appointed by the Human Rights Campaign, the panel presented their analysis to the Ghanaian government directly. If passed, they warned, the government will shatter a “number of human rights standards, including the absolute prohibition of torture”.

The UN experts pointed to how the law would effectively silence all discussions of LGBT+ rights by criminalising the mere “sympathy” towards the movement, raising concerns over it deeply stunting freedom of speech.

“The draft legislation appears to be the result of a deep loathing toward the LGBTI community,” they continued.

“It will not only criminalise LGBT+ people, but anyone who supports their human rights shows sympathy to them or is even remotely associated with them.

“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.”

For activists, the proposals have shuddered fear – and a lack of surprise – as they are forced to grapple with how the future of Ghanaian LGBT+ rights is on the line.

Rightify Ghana, one of the country’s most outspoken LGBT+ groups, welcomed the support from the UN in a statement to PinkNews.

Lawmakers, the group said, have “lost their sense of humanity”.

“The anti-LGBT+ bill is unconstitutional, as it will take away even our most basic right to live and thrive in Ghana,” Rightify Ghana said

“The bill will destroy lives and legalise torture both from the state and the general public.

“We applaud the UN Human rights experts for their statement and continue to call on the global community to help the LGBT+ community in Ghana to fight the tragedy our MPs and the homophobic coalition want to bring upon us.

“For a bill that will also criminalize ‘sympathy’, it is clear that those who put it together and pushing it through Parliament, have lost their sense of humanity and need to be stopped before they cause the harm detailed in their bill of hate and ignorance.”