AVAC Condemns Ghana’s Actions to Further Criminalize LGBTQ+ People

March 1, 2024

AVAC joins allies around the world to condemn in the strongest possible terms this week’s actions by Ghana’s lawmakers, who have passed legislation to further criminalize LGBTQ+ people.  

Homosexuality was illegal in Ghana before the passage of the so-called “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Act”, which now furthers the criminalization of this community, making it a crime to identify as LGBTQ+, to form or fund LGBTQ+ groups, to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights or distribute advocacy materials, with multi-year jail terms attached. The new law also encourages communities to report LGBTQ+ people to authorities. Find more background on Ghana’s legislation here

“With these actions, Ghana is joining a hyper-fundamentalist global movement that uses anti-queer propaganda to strip away fundamental rights of citizens in a free society,” said Richard Muko, AVAC’s Senior Program Manager of Policy Advocacy, and member of the Key Populations Transnational Collaboration (KP-TNC).  

It is with grave alarm that AVAC re-states our concerns and demands from May 31, 2023—when Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, a similar assault on citizens’ rights. 

“This is a growing, global tsunami. As with Uganda’s hateful AHA law, these anti-gay laws threaten lives and livelihoods, and the ability to connect key populations with the resources they need and deserve to prevent and treat HIV and to live their fullest lives. But the danger runs deeper than any one health threat. These actions represent a profound attack on free societies. We must unite to oppose these laws.  LGBTQ+ communities and other minorities must enjoy the full rights of citizenship, or these protections, which include access to healthcare, may well be imperiled for everyone,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director.  

Amnesty International has tracked a surge of intensifying hostility and discriminatory bills across 12 African countries in the last year, and in the US, 25 states passed anti-trans bills in 2023. Political leaders in the US and in countries across Africa are openly calling for LGBTQ+ people to be driven from public life, while US-based hate groups are providing support to proponents of this anti-civil rights agenda on the continent.  

“Singling out vulnerable communities as scapegoats, exposing them to violence and incarceration, is integral to instilling a climate of terror that enables divisive forces to consolidate power. It is imperative to stop these laws,” said Manju Chatani-Gada, Director of Partnerships & Capacity Strengthening  

AVAC urgently calls on Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo to reject this bill. We are not alone. Here are statements from UNAIDS and The US Department of State. To add your voice, see guidelines here, prepared by LGBTQ+ activists working in Ghana.