Criminalizing LGBTQ+ is undemocratic, sets Ghana back – Dr Gyan Nyarko

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Human Rights Researcher with the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria Dr Michael Gyan Nyarko has criticised the anti-LGBTQI+ bill currently before the  Parliament of Ghana which seeks to criminalise LGBTQI+ activities, including advocacy for the community. He described the attempt to criminalize LGBTQI+ as undemocratic as it denies a minority group its rights.

Dr Gyan Nyarko argued that while it is acceptable to disagree with the practices of the LGBTQ community, it is untenable to criminalize their activities based on disagreeing with them.

For him a democracy must not accommodate such abuse of the rights of minorities such as the LGBTQ community, insisting that Ghana will be set back if it passes the bill into law.

“I think democracy should be inclusive to encompass the means of a multitude of individuals and groups and communities that other individuals disagree with. And it’s ok to disagree with such views or conduct. But the idea that because you disagree with a particular view, one must suffer a criminal consequence for it is completely overboard. It is something that democracy should not admit,” he said on Joy FM’s Newsfile program yesterday, Saturday, February 17, 2024.

He added that since the activities of the LGBTQ community have no negative impact on others, the criminalization of them is overboard and pointless.

But legislator, Samuel Nartey George, a lead promoter of the anti-gay bill, defended his position noting that LGBTQ activities directly negatively impact the larger society and there is a legitimate basis to criminalize them.

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