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Proposed law in Ghana will imprison LGBT activists for 10 years

The U.S. is a big economic help to the African nation, with $1.2 billion in annual trade.

Image // BBC

A proposed piece of legislation in the African country of Ghana seeks to punish homosexuality as well as those who support gay rights.

The current draft of the bill states that an LGBT individual could face five years in prison while an individual advocating for LGBT people could face ten years in prison. These sentences may be reduced if those charged with the crime request “treatment,” most likely in the form of conversion therapy. The bill even targets media companies who allow and promote LGBT support.

According to Equaldex, homosexual activity has been illegal in Ghana since January 1960. The current law states that anyone 16 years or older engaging in consensual homosexual activity could serve up to three years in prison, but if the individual does not have consent, the punishment ranges from five to 25 years imprisonment. There are currently no censorship laws restricting the discussion or promotion of LGBT topics, but the new legislation seeks to change that.

As reported by the Advocate, Danny Bediako of Rightify Ghana, an LGBT rights group, expressed concerns about the new bill. “The community is shocked at how wide-ranging it is. People are even scared to go out now and some members say they will leave the country if the bill is passed into law. Even those who want to help us will be afraid,” he said.

Wendy Issack of Human Rights Watch also expressed dismay. “It criminalizes everything, from being a person who engages in same-sex conduct to identifying as a transgender person to being an ally of LGBTQ individuals. People are absolutely terrified,” she said.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch in May, 16 women and five men were arrested and detained by Ghanaian authorities for attending a paralegal training to assist LGBT citizens of the country. 22 days after the arrests, the activists were released on bail but the charges of promoting homosexuality have yet to be dropped.

According to the U.S. Embassy of Ghana’s website, the U.S. is a big economic help to the African nation. “We are happy to report that despite a fragile global economy, total trade between the United States and Ghana stands at $1.2 billion annually,” Stephanie Sullivan, ambassador to Ghana, reports.

Sullivan further states, “The U.S. Embassy continues to invest in Ghana through many initiatives and programs, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Trade Africa, the Partnership for Growth, Feed the Future, and the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Moreover, I am actively encouraging government, business, and civil society leaders in Ghana to promote a secure and investment-friendly environment to allow us to broaden the economic ties between our two great countries.”

Coca-Cola, a company that has truly embraced woke culture over the last few years, has a large facility and business hold in Ghana. Outspoken previously reported on Coca-Cola’s campaigns aimed at showing support for the non-binary community and the pronoun-games they play.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company Ghana was created in 1997 as part of a partnership between the Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company Group and the Government of Ghana. An article in the magazine Africa Outlook reports that Coca-Cola claims to work in Ghana to be “socially responsible for the millions of consumers that we serve by improving the quality of their lives.” However, the company has remained silent about the human rights violations taking place in Ghana.

American computer giant IBM also has facilities in Ghana that work both on hardware and software. According to the company’s website on inclusion, they affirm, “IBM is committed to provide a safe and welcoming environment to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and non-binary individuals. Our success in creating an open and welcoming environment—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression—has allowed us to attract and retain valuable new talent.” The company, however, may be unable to fulfill that commitment for their employees in Ghana, as it violates the country’s laws.

The current piece of legislation appears to have the support needed to pass through Ghana’s parliament, according to initial reports, but it is uncertain when a vote will take place.

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