Parliament has been asked by the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to tread cautiously as it considers the anti-lesbian, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer, intersex (anti-LGBTQI+) bill.
The admonishment from CHRAJ came when they appeared before the committee conducting a public hearing on the various memoranda put before it arguing for or against the Anti LGBTQI bill.
CHRAJ argues that section 104 of the constitution is sufficient in this regard as it has already criminalized acts of LGBTQI.
Mr Joseph Whittal CHRAJ Commissioner recommended to the legislature that section104 of the 1992 constitution can be amended instead of passing a new bill to criminalise it.
“Section 104, If there are limitations to 104, we can proceed to amend it instead of coming with a Bill that criminalises all over again.”
“If the [Parliamentary] committee believes that the species of activities that are covered under Section 104 in the light of the fact that it is an old legislation, require further improvement by an amendment, that will take care of current and future possible activities, which you would want to criminalize, I say you should go ahead, and that is something you should be looking at instead of this [anti-LGBTQI+] Bill,” Mr Whittal said.
He then called on the legislature to tread cautiously with the bill.
“I think section 104 is sufficient and if it is not sufficient, we can make an amendment of that position sufficient to deter people along those lines and not to open up so that anyone of us, like me [Whittal] as a member of the commission or commissioner of CHRAJ with a mandate to promote human rights, if I decide to speak on behalf of minority and the vulnerable, then I’m opening myself to possible criminal prosecution, why will that be. We need to be careful as we consider the Bill.”
However, proponents of the anti-Lesbain Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Bill have also reiterated that activities of the LGBTQ+ community are a threat to the family construction of Ghanaians.
Lead proponent of the anti- LGBTQ+ Bill and legislator for Ningo-Prampram Sam George has reiterated that sexual orientation is not a fundamental Human Right and therefore, Article 12 (1), of the constitution cannot be used to reject the bill.
He made this known when he appeared before the committee on Monday, November 29, 2021.
“These rights in their state are not absolute. The rights can be enjoyed between certain boundaries. No right in the 1992 constitution is absolute. There are basis [sic] in the constitution for the curtailment of every right.”
“So those fundamental human rights are only enjoyable within the framework for the respect of the rights of others. Our position on this bill is that sexual orientation is not a fundamental human right.”