US Vice President Kamala Harris has spoken out in support of LGBTQ+ people in Africa, following the introduction of a devastating new law in Uganda that completely bans queer identities.
The 49th Vice President of the United States made her position clear on Monday March 27 during a press conference in Ghana.
Standing alongside Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, Harris said she felt “very strongly” about supporting the development of LGBTQ+ rights in Africa.
“I will also say that this is an issue that we view and I view as a human rights issue and that will not change,” she continued.
March 21, East African country Uganda passed a draconian bill criminalize people who publicly identify as LGBTQ+ after a short-lived debate by lawmakers.
Crowds of homophobic politicians applauded the passage of the law, which could see LGBTQ+ people face up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, if they are found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality,” the death penalty could be invoked.
“Much of my career has focused on issues of human rights and equality at all levels, including, as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community,” Harris added.
“I am very committed to supporting freedom and to supporting and fighting for the equality of all.“
Elsewhere during the press session, President Akufo-Addo mentioned that an anti-LGBTQ+ bill was currently being considered in the Ghanaian parliament, but it “has not been passed.”
“The attorney general found it necessary to speak to the committee regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions,” he said.
“At the end of the process, I will intervene, but in the meantime, Parliament will take care of it.”
Currently, provisions of the Ghana Penal Code consider “unnatural carnal knowledge” to be an offense punishable by up to three years in prison.
Vice President Harris began her seven-day tour of the West African country, saying she wanted to strengthen partnerships across the continent.
At the conference, she also announced a $100 million fund to fight extremism in Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Togo.
After her trip to Ghana, she will travel to Tanzania and Zambia where similar efforts to improve relations will begin.