July 23, 2024

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 4, 2024, issued a statement speaking for the first time about the approval by parliament of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill.

The president among other things addressed the international community over their concerns about Ghana’s Human Rights standing following the passage of the bill as well as his immediate action under the circumstances.

Read highlights of the president’s statement below:

Message to the international community, other partners

The president said he recognised the concerns of the international community following the approval of the bill but he also gave them assurances that Ghana’s respect for human rights will not be tampered with.

“I 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,” the president said.

Bill yet to arrive on the president’s desk

By Ghana’s constitutional provisions, the bill approved by parliament requires President Akufo-Addo’s assent before becoming law.

With expectations high on whether he will append his signature to the bill or not, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that the bill is yet to arrive on his desk.

“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,” the president, said.

Constitutional challenge

Amidst the opposition raised against the bill, some civil society organisations including the Ghana Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD-Ghana) as well as some individuals have hinted at seeking a court interpretation on the constitutionality of the bill if it becomes law.

While any such action is yet to be recorded, President Akufo-Addo on Monday reported that he has become aware of a suit filed at the Supreme Court by a private citizen seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the bill.

“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 disclosed.

Matters related to Anti-LGBT+ Bill on hold until Supreme Court makes determination

On what his immediate line of action on the bill will be, President Akufo-Addo advanced that all issues related to the bill be put on hold until the court decision is delivered on its constitutionality.

“In the circumstances, it would be, as well, for all of us to hold our hands, and await the decision of the Court before any action is taken. The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country,” he said.

About the bill:

The Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, or the Anti-LGBT+ Bill, was recently approved by the Parliament of Ghana via a unanimous vote.

The bill prohibits same-sex marriage and prescribes punishment, including jail terms against practitioners and promoters of LGBT+.

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