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NewsGhana will not go back on longstanding record on human rights observance...

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Ghana will not go back on longstanding record on human rights observance – Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has reiterated Ghana’s unwavering commitment to upholding human rights and the rule of law, affirming that the country will not deviate from its longstanding record in this regard.

He made the comment quickly after he revealed concerns raised by countries deemed to be friends of Ghana over the recent passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, also known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

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Speaking at a diplomatic event, he assured these international bodies that Ghana maintains its reputation for respecting human rights and following the rule of law.

The President clarified that the Bill is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court, and until a verdict is reached, his government will not enforce any provisions of the private Member’s bill.

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In a circular shared by Director of communications at the office of the President, Eugene Arhin, the President said, “l am aware that last week’s bi-partisan passage by Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a Private Member’s motion, has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law. I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned.”

President Akufo-Addo clarified that the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill has not yet been presented to him for formal action. He stated that any decision he takes regarding the Bill will depend on the outcome of the lawsuit challenging it in the Supreme Court.

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“I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk. But, suffice it to say, that I have learnt that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation,” the President added.

Amidst both domestic and international scrutiny, President Akufo-Addo’s statement comes in the wake of the controversial legislation’s passage. On February 28, 2024, Parliament approved a bill criminalizing LGBTQ activities and prohibiting their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

According to the legislation, individuals convicted of such acts could face sentences ranging from 6 months to 3 years in prison, while those promoting or sponsoring such activities could be imprisoned for 3 to 5 years.

The bill’s approval has been met with criticism, notably from Virginia Evelyn Palmer, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, among others.

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