Nairobi, Kenya—Ghana's parliament on February 28 passed the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill, which represents a grave violation of fundamental human rights.

The bill imposes harsher sentences for the LGBTQ+ community. It has a jail term of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTQ+. It also sets a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups.

The bill awaits President Nana Akufo-Addo's assent to become law, and poised to be one of the harshest towards the LGBTQ+ community in Africa.  The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) demands the president to veto the bill.

KHRC further demands that Ghana respects its obligation under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international human rights instruments. These agreements explicitly protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and prohibit discrimination on such grounds.

The passage of the bill undermines Ghana's commitment to regional human rights instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The unfortunate development in Ghana will undoubtedly lead to widespread human rights abuses, including discrimination, persecution, and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. It will foster a climate of fear and intolerance, further marginalizing already vulnerable communities and perpetuating injustice within Ghanaian society, as is the case in Uganda.

In May last year, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world's strictest anti-LGBTQ+ laws, which spelt out the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality". African legislators must stop their hate towards the LGBTQ+ community.

KHRC demands that Ghana's President Akufo-Addo veto the bill and reaffirm his commitment to upholding all citizens' fundamental human rights. Ghana should align its laws and policies with international human rights standards and work towards building a society that respects and celebrates diversity in all its forms.