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Ghana’s president vows no action on anti-LGBTQ+ bill until Supreme Court rules on a challenge to it

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Ghana’s president said Tuesday his government will wait for a Supreme Court ruling before taking action on a bill that would further criminalize members of the LGBTQ+ community in the West African nation.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said he sought to reassure the diplomatic community that Ghana would not be turning its back on its longstanding human rights record.

Gay sex is illegal in Ghana, carrying a three-year prison sentence, but the new bill could imprison people for more than a decade for activities including public displays of affection and promotion and funding of LGBTQ+ activities.

The president said a citizen mounted a constitutional challenge to the bill in court.

The bill has sparked condemnation from rights groups and some in the international community who have been concerned about similar efforts by other African governments.

“The anti-LGBT rights bill is inconsistent with Ghana’s longstanding tradition of peace, tolerance, and hospitality and flies in the face of the country’s international human rights obligations,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Larissa Kojoué.

Sponsors of the bill have said it seeks to protect children and people who are victims of abuse.

On Monday, Ghana’s Ministry of Finance warned that the bill puts $3.8 billion in World Bank funding at risk and likely would derail the $3 billion International Monetary Fund bailout program agreed to in 2023 and negatively affect the local currency’s exchange rate.

Ghana’s economy is recovering from its worst recession in decades.

In 2023, the World Bank said it would not consider new funding for Uganda after it enacted anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

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