LGBT rights in Cameroon
|LGBT rights in Cameroon|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Illegal|
|5 years imprisonment and fine|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Cameroon face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Cameroon.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual acts are banned by section 347 of the penal code with a penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 francs. More severe sentencing is likely when one of the offenders is under 21 years of age.
In May 2005, 11 men were arrested at a nightclub on suspicion of sodomy, and the government threatened to conduct medical examinations to "prove" their homosexual activity. As of February 2006, nearly all were still being detained, with trials scheduled in March 2006.
The Advocate estimates that in 2011, at least a dozen men were arrested under Section 347. One of these, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was arrested by security forces for sending SMS messages to male acquaintance and sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Kondengui Central Prison. The sentence was protested by international human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the latter of which named him a prisoner of conscience.On 24 November 2011, three young men were sentenced to five years' imprisonment for having oral sex in a parked car.
In November 2011, a Cameroonian court convicted two young men who had been arrested for homosexuality outside a nightclub based solely on their appearance and behavior to five years' imprisonment. The presiding judge stated that the way they spoke and their having worn women's clothing and ordered a cream-based liquor was sufficient evidence for homosexuality. An appeals court later overturned the verdict.
U.K. asylum cases
A gay Cameroonian man was granted the right to claim asylum in the United Kingdom due to his sexuality in early July 2010. Cameroon's Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma, responded to the court's action by acknowledging that homosexuality was definitely illegal in Cameroon, but also arguing that homosexuals were not prosecuted for their private activities. He dismissed the asylum-seeker's claims, saying that the man had nothing to fear from the law: "Do you think he is the only gay person in Cameroon?"
In August 2011, a gay Cameroonian man was granted temporary immigration bail from the UK Border Agency after Air France refused to carry him to Yaoundé. In May 2012, the UK Border Agency sought to return asylum-seeker Ediage Valerie Ekwedde, finding "no credible evidence" that he was gay, but was forced to keep Ekwedde in custody after he threatened to "make a fuss" on the Air France flight returning him to Cameroon.
Cameroon is a conservative society in which homosexuality is frowned upon. In 2006, a number of tabloids published the names of at least 50 very prominent people they claimed were homosexual. They condemned them for deviant behaviour. The stories boosted newspaper circulation, but were criticized by the state communication council for invading people's privacy. The campaign provoked a national debate about gay rights and privacy.
The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "homosexual persons generally kept a low profile because of the pervasive societal stigma, discrimination, and harassment as well as the possibility of imprisonment. Gays and lesbians suffered from harassment and extortion by law enforcement officials. False allegations of homosexuality were used to harass enemies or to extort money." In 2012, the first association for lesbian and queer women, World Queens, was founded.
- Joel Gustave Nana Ngongang, a leading African LGBT human rights activist from Cameroon
- LGBT rights in Africa
- Human rights in Africa
- Alice Nkom, a leading Cameroonian lawyer working toward the decriminalization of homosexuality in Cameroon
- Ottosson, Daniel (May 2008). "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults". International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). pp. Page 11. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
- "Cameroon jails two men for gay sex" PlanetOut Network. 28 February 2006. Accessed 1 March 2006.
- "A Lone Activist Crusades for Change in Cameroon". The Advocate. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- David Smith (9 June 2011). "Campaign to free Cameroon man jailed for homosexuality". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Prisoner of Conscience, Imprisoned for Homosexuality". Amnesty International. 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Cameroon jails men over gay sex". The Guardian. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Cameroon denies homosexuals face persecution", BBC News, 8 July 2010.
- "Air France refuses to carry deported gay Cameroon man from UK", Radio France Internationale, 10 August 2011.
- "Row over Cameroon 'gay' witchhunt" BBC News. Updated 6 February 2006, 11:43 GMT Accessed 7 February 2006.
- Cameroon gay list publisher jailed Ninemsn. Saturday 4 Mar 09:23 AEDT.
- World Queens, le lesbiche del Camerun fanno rete Il grande colibrì. 24 November 2012. Accessed 1 December 2012