French Minister of State advocates for LGBTQI+ rights in Africa amidst proposed anti-gay bill in Ghana

The French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, has spoken out about the ongoing debate surrounding the rights of the LGBTQI+ community in Africa.

Ms. Zacharopoulou believes that the fundamental human rights of all individuals must be protected by law, including those of the LGBTQI+ community.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra Monday night (April 3), she stated that protecting the rights of such people is a core value of France and the European Union and that she will continue to advocate for their rights wherever she goes in Africa.

“In my country and in the European Union, we promote human rights and of course in my Ministry, we have an ambassador to promote LGBT rights, so what I can say is that this is our values and wherever I go in Africa, I will continue to say that we have to respect all of us, the LGBT community, this is a question of human rights and I always say that,” she said.

Currently, over 30 African countries have bans against same-sex relations, and the proposed Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, also known as the Anti-Gay Bill in Ghana, seeks to criminalize LGBTQI+ activities in Ghana.

If passed into law, the bill would outlaw all forms of support for the LGBTQI+ community and propose jail terms for individuals who engage in same-sex relations.

Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Monday said the bill being debated in Parliament had been “modified” following his government’s intervention.

Speaking during a joint news conference with US Vice-President Kamala Harris, President Akufo-Addo clarified that the bill was not an official government policy but rather had been proposed by a “handful” of private members.

He said the Attorney General had submitted opinions to a parliamentary committee regarding the constitutionality of certain provisions in the bill, and as a result, significant elements of the bill had already been amended. President Akufo-Addo did not disclose his plans if the bill was approved for Presidential assent by Parliament.

Ms Harris said she had addressed the issue with President Akufo-Addo, adding that the US considered it a matter of human rights.

Gay sex is currently punishable by up to three years in jail in Ghana, where homophobic attitudes are prevalent, but the proposed law would introduce lengthier sentences.

The bill has been undergoing public hearings in parliament since 2021, and its voting date is unclear.

President Akufo-Addo has previously stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, stating that it would never be legalised while he is President.


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