Ranking member for constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee, Bernard Ahiafor, has disclosed that there is nothing draconian about the Promotion of Proper Sexual Human Rights bill, also known as the anti-LGBTQ bill before parliament.
According to him, in its current form, the bill does not in any way infringe on the rights of any person in the country. He revealed that although he has not taken his time to take a look at the anti-LGBTQ Ugandan law, he doesn’t see anything in the bill under reference in Ghana’s parliament being harsh.
“There is not even a life imprisonment, let alone talking about death penalty. Now, it is also an offence for you to attack anybody you perceive to be LGBTQ. There’s a provision in the bill before parliament protecting people who are perceived to be LGBTQ. So, our law might be quite different from what is happening in Uganda.
“So, the fact that, based on the element of death penalty and sanctions to people to disability, making the Uganda and LGBTQ bill they have passed into law draconian, does not mean the bill currently in Ghana’s parliament is also draconian.”Bernard Ahiafor
Justifying his stance, Mr Ahiafor indicated that whereas the Uganda bill has some element of death penalty, the bill under consideration in Ghana’s parliament has nothing of such nature. He further explained that Uganda’s bill cannot be equated to the function of existing law in section 104 of the criminal and other offences act.
Furthermore, Mr Ahiafor stated that there has been a reduction of “the punishment from a minimum of five years and a maximum of ten years, to a minimum of three years to a maximum of five years”.
“That is the only function prescribed by this particular law.”Bernard Ahiafor
Infringement of human rights with passage of LGBTQ bill
Commenting on whether the bill will represent what Ghanaians stand for, especially as some members of academia and human rights organizations contend that the bill will infringe on some persons human rights, Mr Ahiafor emphasized that the bill will not infringe on anyone’s right.
With this, he called on those who are giving the argument that the bill will violate human rights to come out and mention the specific right that will be violated if the bill is passed into law.
“In Ghana, we have dedicated chapter five of the constitution to human rights and I have sat down to look at this particular bill. Look at all the constitutional imperative, I have not seen any aspect of this particular bill that seeks to trample upon anybody’s right. Are we saying that you are born naturally as a man and that at your age now, you want to have a right to transgender into a woman? If the law says you cannot do that then you say that you have a right… What right are we talking about?”Bernard Ahiafor
Moreover, Mr Ahiafor questioned whether there’s a provision in the constitution which guarantees the right for people to associate with LGBTQ. He further emphasized that those relying on the universal declaration of human rights, should mention a single provision in the declaration that guarantees what they are asserting.
Touching on whether the bill will be passed into law in record time, Mr Ahiafor revealed that he is not in a position to determine that. He stated that the bill will have to go through certain stages before it is passed into law.
“Well, I cannot speak to Mr President, but I can speak to what the law says. By law, we will start the second reading. It is now left for the business committee to program the bill for consideration. After the consideration stage, it moves to the third reading and it is passed. Then, it is referred to the President of Ghana who would have to exercise the power vested in him to give an assent which is also regulated by law, specifically Article 106…”Bernard Ahiafor