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UN condemns Ghana's anti-LGBTQ+ bill, calls for it not to become law

A woman walks past the assembly during the fourteenth session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Ma   -  
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Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP2010


A bill which criminalizes LGBTQ+ people and their supporters in Ghana drew international condemnation Thursday after it was passed by parliament, with the United Nations calling it “profoundly disturbing” and urging for it not to become law.

In a statement, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner, said the bill broadens the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people simply for being who they are, and threatens criminal penalties against those perceived as their allies.

“Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalised ... The bill, if it becomes law, will be corrosive, and will have a negative impact on society as a whole," she said.

The bill, which was voted through by parliament in the West African nation on Wednesday, was first introduced three years ago. It criminalises relationships, sexual activity and public displays of affection between members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It also targets their supporters and the promotion and funding of LGBTQ+-related activities. Those convicted could face up to a decade in prison.

The bill has been sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Ghana has generally been considered to be more respectful of human rights than most African countries, but since the legislation passed through parliament, international condemnation has grown.

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