On the 22nd November 2011 two young men identified as Francky (21) and Jonas (19) were convicted under the Cameroonian Penal Code, a law that criminalises sexual contact between members of the same sex. The law imposes a penalty of 6 months to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to CFA 200,000. Both Francky and Jonas were sentenced to the maximum sentence of five years and in addition fined CFA 200,000 each.
Pan Africa ILGA shares the sentiments of Erwin van der Borght of Amnesty International, when he said “People accused of such crimes in Cameroon often face abuse and violence from other detainees and prison officers in detention. The two men must be released immediately and the Cameroonian authorities must repeal the country’s discriminatory anti-homosexuality laws.”
In a speech on Human Rights Day 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.
Since March 2011 Cameroon has seen an increase in the persecution of LGBTI persons, with at least ten individuals arrested since.
Cameroon’s sodomy legislation contradicts international agreements that guarantee all citizens freedom from discrimination, the right to privacy, the right to freedom of association and assembly that the country is signatory to. In the main these laws have been used to punish private sexual activity between consenting adults. Under these laws, law officials have also been known to harass and extort money from the LGBTI community.
In the wake of these arrests Pan Africa ILGA urges the Cameroonian government to;
• End the persecution of persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
• Immediately repeal all laws that criminalise consensual same-sex relations;
• Release all individuals detained under this discriminatory law.
For more information, please contact:
Rowland Jide Macaulay
Linda RM Baumann