Cameroon-CRC-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity & Violence Against Girls - July 2016

The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAM-FAIDS) submitted a list of issues report for the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the 75th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, concerning LGBTI youth issues and violence against girls.

The Cameroonian legal system discriminates against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Article 347 bis, for example, criminalizes consensual same-sex relations and has been used to arrest and detain youth based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation. Moreover, many children arrested under Article 347 bis are put in the same, overcrowded confinement centers as adults. While in prison, LGBTI juveniles face degrading and humiliating conditions, including instances of forced anal examinations, sexual abuse, and torture. The Cameroonian Government fosters a climate of impunity for this conduct.

The criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct, paired with discrimination against and stigmatization of individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, undermines efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in LGBTI youth. Due to the criminalization of same-sex sexual relations, Cameroon does not have programs for treating LGBTI youth with HIV/AIDS.

Girls in Cameroon are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual abuse, rape, female genital mutilation, and breast ironing. Few rape cases go to court, and Cameroonian law allows a perpetrator to avoid prosecution by marrying his victim.

In the report, The Advocates and CAM-FAIDS recommend that the Committee pose several questions to the government of Cameroon in preparation for the upcoming review, including:

  • What steps does the State Party take to ensure that children in police or prison custody - particularly LGBT youth - are not subject to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment?
  • What steps is the State Party taking to ensure that adolescents are not arrested or prosecuted under Article 347 bis?
  • What steps is the State Party taking to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS among LGBTI youth?
  • What steps is the State Party taking to provide medical and psychological support, as well as shelter, counseling, and rehabilitation services, for victims of violence against girls?