Ghana’s government has enacted stringent legislation mandating up to three years of incarceration for individuals found guilty of LGBTQ+ identification and five years for involvement in the creation or financial backing of LGBTQ+ organisations.

The legislation, which received support from the principal political factions in Ghana, now awaits President Nana Akufo-Addo’s approval to be enacted. Akufo-Addo has indicated his willingness to sign the bill contingent on popular support.

Currently, homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana and are punishable by a three-year prison term. Amnesty International has recently highlighted the bill’s potential to undermine the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ individuals severely.


Activists are concerned about potential persecution and forced concealment of LGBTQ+ individuals and advocates. The UN’s leading official on AIDS, Winnie Byanyima, warned that the bill if passed, could fuel discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ Ghanaians, hinder freedom of expression, movement, and association, impede access to essential services, and negatively affect Ghana’s developmental achievements.

The proposed bill includes a provision for up to a decade of imprisonment for anyone engaging in LGBTQ+ advocacy targeting minors and encourages public reporting of LGBTQ+ individuals for “necessary action”.

The bill’s drafting was a response to the inauguration of Ghana’s inaugural LGBTQ+ community hub in Accra in January 2021, which was closed following public demonstrations and pressure from religious and traditional leaders in the predominantly Christian nation. Religious organisations have declared LGBTQ+ identities as incompatible with Ghanaian cultural and family values.

The approved version of the bill is less severe than its initial proposal, with reduced prison sentences and the omission of a contentious conversion therapy clause. During the extended debate, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the deputy parliamentary leader of the ruling party, proposed amendments for a secret ballot to determine whether LGBTQ+ convictions should lead to imprisonment or alternative sentences like community service and counselling, only to be silenced by proponents of imprisonment.