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General News of Saturday, 6 March 2021

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Closure of LGBTQI+ office was a breach of Human Rights - Ayariga

The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga has posited that the closure of the new office space for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex + (LGBTQI+) was a breach of a fundamental human right.

He explained that it was a clear violation o9f the constitution, which guarantees the rights of the people who opened that office.

He was contributing to statements submitted by some MPs who have joined forces to speak against the activities of the LGBTQI+ community.

The lawmaker admonished his colleague MPs to separate the issues because what was on the total was about the freedom to form an association and the freedom of speech and assembly.

Mr. Ayariga said the MPs might not like a certain view and a practice, but our constitution recognises freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and so, the question is, do people have the right to form an association to advocate for a certain position to be accepted, by the laws of Ghana?

He said the MPs need to be careful and distinguish between the freedom to speak and advocate to accept the LGBTQI+ as against the practice.

He said our laws only prohibit unnatural carnal knowledge, and people have no right to engage in unnatural natural, nor could people seek protection for it.

He explained that if people want to advocate and form an association, they cannot be stopped legally.

He said when you stop people from advocating for something to be recognised by the law, at that point, you are transgressing and stepping on the freedom of speech.

Mahama Ayariga, whose submission was strongly opposed, by his colleagues, went on to argue that the country cannot punish people for expressing their views on LGBTQI+, but they could be prosecuted if it is proven beyond reasonable that t5hat they practised it.

He insisted if the group want to open an office or meet parliament to discuss issues with them, that cannot be stopped since it would amount to breaching the constitution.

He asked his colleagues to be careful with their approach since that could open the floodgate for human rights abuse.

The MP further explained no one could be arrested for holding the hands of the same sex on the streets, and if we want to stop all forms of LGBTQI+, then we should amend our laws.

”There is no law that prohibits men holding hands in a certain way. There is no law in Ghana that prohibits women from holding hands in a certain way, he added.”

”If we want to prohibit it then this house must come together and propose a legislation that adequately captures the practice of gay and lesbianism and then proscribe it.”

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