Appeal To Reject The "Bill For Proper Human Sexual Relations And Ghanaian Family Values"

His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, The President of the Republic of Ghana, Jubilee House, Kanda, Accra, Ghana
By Kwei M Jones-Quartey, M.D.
Letter Appeal To Reject The Bill For Proper Human Sexual Relations And Ghanaian Family Values
JUL 13, 2023 LISTEN

Dear Mr. President,

I write to you with deep concern and a fervent plea for you to consider the long-term implications of signing into law the Bill for Proper Human Sexual Relations and Ghanaian Family Values, which was recently passed by Parliament. While it is essential to uphold Ghana's cherished cultural values and societal norms, it is equally crucial to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms that underpin our democratic state.

As a Ghanaian-American deeply invested in Ghana's future, I am anxious about the potential repercussions this legislation could have on our global reputation, our economy, and, most importantly, the lives of countless LGBTQIA+ Ghanaians who may be directly or indirectly affected.

This Bill infringes on the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and privacy that are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. It threatens to marginalize and further alienate LGBTQIA+ individuals based on their sexual orientation and personal choices, which are inherently private and should not be subject to legal scrutiny.

By endorsing such a Bill, we stand to compromise our collective commitment to human rights, which could undermine Ghana's reputation as a beacon of democratic values in Africa. Ghana stands head and shoulders above many African countries on many levels, and some look to Ghana for guidance. We simply cannot blindly follow Uganda's horrendous example of their draconian “Kill the Gays” law. We are much, much better than that. In some ways, Ghana's Parliament isn't elevating Ghana's international standing, it is taking a wrecking ball to it.

You know better than I that the enforcement of this Bill could have severe implications for our economy. Ghana's economic growth and development largely hinge on strong ties with international partners and stakeholders, many of whom champion inclusivity and human rights. Approval of this Bill could strain these relationships, potentially leading to reductions in foreign investments, trade, tourism, aid, and healthcare initiatives.

According to UN AIDS, Ghana saw a 21% fall in the incidence of HIV between 2010 and 2021 due to the results of sex education, preventive measures, and the care medical providers render to LGBTQIA+ persons. The Bill threatens to reverse these gains because it will drive the LGBTQIA+ community underground and make individuals afraid to seek medical care. This will lead inevitably to the unchecked spread of HIV, which is not in Ghana's interest.

I urge you, Mr. President, to strongly and deeply reconsider assenting to this Bill. I implore you to engage with civil society, human rights advocates, legal experts, religious leaders, and the wider Ghanaian public to carefully deliberate further on the implications of this law. Such a step would reinforce our democratic ideals of dialogue, compromise, and consensus-building.

Mr. President, Ghana has a long history of upholding human dignity and promoting peace. As we strive to build a society where all individuals are accorded their due rights and freedoms, it is imperative that we refrain from institutionalizing laws that may perpetuate division and discrimination. We simply cannot go backwards on human rights. We must strive forward.

I trust that you will put the best interests of the people of Ghana at heart, and continue to be a stalwart leader for human rights and inclusivity in our great nation. I know personally that your capacity for nuanced thought and reasoning far exceeds that of many African leaders. Thank you for your dedication to serving our country and its people.

Yours faithfully,

Kwei M Jones-Quartey, M.D.

Pasadena, California