Parliament must decide whether they want to decriminalise LGBT laws – Ayorkor Botchwey

The Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, says Ghana’s Parliament must make up its mind on whether it wants to decriminalise LGBT laws in the country.

Parliament must decide whether they want to decriminalise LGBTQ laws – Ayorkor Botchwey

Ghana’s Criminal Code of 1960 contains provisions criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts and considers "unnatural carnal knowledge" as a misdemeanour.

Answering questions during her vetting on Thursday, Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey was asked if she’ll support any campaign to repeal LGBT laws.

Responding to this, she noted that Parliament is where laws are made and that the MPs must be asked if they are ready to decriminalise such a law.

“This is the house of law, this is where laws are enacted and, therefore, I believe that the question must be asked whether Parliament is ready to repeal any such law [against LGBTQ],” she said.

“Fortunately, I cannot include myself because I’m no longer a parliamentary, so Parliament must let us know if this is what they want to do.”

This follows plans by US President Joe Biden to expand the protection of rights of LGBTQI people across the world, including proffering tough sanctions on countries that refuse to do so.

Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey, however, said Ghana will “stick” to its own laws despite outside pressure to welcome LGBTQ laws.

She noted that Ghana was a sovereign country and, therefore, cannot be forced to adhere to laws that go against the nation’s constitution.

“Ghana is a sovereign country but as part of current policy, we engage countries all over the world. America is one of our strongest friends,” she said.

“But in this country we have laws and our laws work. So, in spite of what somebody would say, and in this case President Biden, the laws of Ghana criminalise unnatural [sex]. And that is what we all adhere to – the laws that we enact.

“Of course, culturally also we have our cultural laws that we must adhere to. So inasmuch as he [Biden] will say that, we are also as a sovereign country must stick to the laws of the land.”

The issue of gay rights remains a controversial topic in Ghana, with many Ghanaians currently strongly against is legalisation.

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