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The bill is considered one of the harshest of its kind in Africa

Ghana Anti-LGBTQ bill Representative Image | Salil Bera

As the LGBTQ rights are becoming popular, and accepted in many countries, there are still nations unwilling to accept the community. Ghana's parliament on Wednesday passed a legislation that intensifies a crackdown on the rights of the LGBTQ people and those promoting lesbian, gay or other non-conventional secual or gender identities in the West African country.

The bill now imposes prison sentence of up to five years for "willful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities".

The bill is considered one of the harshest of its kind in Africa.

"My heart is broken and devastated at the moment, that's all I can say for now" Angel Maxine, Ghana's first openly transgender musician and LGBTQI+ activist, told Reuters.

Even the United States has also expressed its concern over the bill. "The bill seeks to criminalise any person who simply identifies as LGBTQI+, as well as any friend, family, or member of the community who does not report them," the US state department said in a statement.

"The bill would also undermine Ghana's valuable public health, media and civic spaces, and economy," the department added.

A coalition of Christian, Muslim and Ghanaian traditional leaders sponsored the legislation. After the Parliament vote, the bill will be presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo. According to Ghana's constitution, the president has seven days to assent or refuse to assent. Once he approves, the bill becomes a law.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the United Nations Aids agency UNAIDS criticised the bill and said it would be affecting all.

"It will exacerbate fear and hatred, could incite violence against fellow Ghanaian citizens, and will negatively impact on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association," Byanyima said in a statement.


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