‘Sexual orientation is not a fundamental human right’

Sponsors of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill have insisted that “sexual orientation is not a fundamental human right”.

According to them, all international charters and treaties Ghana is a signatory to do not recognise sexual orientation as a human right.

To them, the activities of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+) people threatened the concept of family and associated value systems central to the social structure of all ethnic groups in Ghana.

“Our position as sponsors of this Bill is that sexual orientation is not a fundamental human right. It is not a fundamental human right in the 1992 Constitution and not a fundamental human right in any of the international treaties that Ghana is a signatory to,” lead sponsor and MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, said.

Mr George made this observation in Accra on Monday as the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs resumed the public hearing of memoranda for and against the Bill which seeks to criminalise same sex relationships in the country.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples Right, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights among others, he said, do not recognise LGBTQI as a fundamental human right.

“What the sponsors of this Bill are trying to do is to defend the Universal Declaration on Hunan Rights which has not been amended yet by any group or body,” he stated.

Ghana, he said, was part of the globalisation to strengthen the values of the state and not to erode the values and identity of a state and “we cannot allow presumed globalisation to compromise the cultural and moral values in our country”.

To him the state holds the right to self-determination and to make laws that protect its values, customs and identity in so far us they do not infringe on fundamental human rights.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called for caution in the consideration of the Bill.

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal, appearing before the Committee said the Bill had the tendency to infringe on the right of minority groups in the country.

In his view, the Criminal Offences Act which partially addresses LGBTQI+ offences should be amended to respond to present trends in the 1960 law.

“If the [Parliamentary] committee believes that the specie 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 criminalise, I said you should go ahead, and that is something you should be looking at instead of this [anti-LGBTQI+] Bill,” Mr Whittal told the Committee.

“So what we can do as a nation should be, we have all the power to go back and make some reservations if we want. But to say that is not a human right, I say, once the committee on economic, social and cultural rights, Ghana is a member of the General Assembly of the UN, and is subject to the jurisdiction of that committee, and the general comments of that committee has included sexual orientation as a human right, we need to be very careful because it only takes the Supreme Court to import that into our law…, so let’s be very careful,” he added.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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