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Committee Against Torture - LGBTI Rights & Gender-based Violence - October 2017

Date: October 4, 2017
Document: cat_cameroon_tahr_camfaids_observatory_english.pdf
Country: Cameroon
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Bias and Discrimination , Gender-Based Violence , Human Rights Defenders , International Advocacy , LGBTI Rights , Policing , Torture
Mechanism: UN Committee against Torture

Alternative Report responding to the Government of Cameroon’s 5th Periodic Report, 62nd Session of the Committee Against Torture (6 November to 6 December 2017)

Partner: The National Observatory for the Rights of LGBT Persons and Their Defenders, under the coordination of CAMFAIDS

The Advocates for Human Rights, along with The National Observatory for the Rights of LGBT Persons and Their Defenders and The Cameroonian Foundation For AIDS, submitted an alternative report on LGBTI and Gender-based violence in Cameroon for the 62nd Session of the Committee Against Torture.

In July 2016, Cameroon adopted a new penal code that criminalizes sexual relations with a person of the same sex. Police and gendarmes have used this law to detain and abuse individuals solely because an individual appeared to be non-gender conforming. LGBT individuals also face violence from community members. Nevertheless, individuals attacked by community members rarely seek justice due to the fear of being treated as criminals. LGBT individuals also experience difficulty in obtaining medical treatment and equal access to education.

Organizations supporting LGBT people have also experienced violence. The offices of CAMFAIDS, for instance, was repeatedly vandalized. Staff members reported that community members physically assaulted and harassed them and formal police complaints were filed against CAMFAIDS for the "promotion of homosexuality."

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendations for the government of Cameroon:

  • Investigate violence against human rights defenders who help LGBT persons.
  • Establish an independent police oversight mechanism to allow civilians to file complaints against police and other security officers without fear of retribution.
  • Enact new legislation that would grant special legal protections for human rights defenders, including LGBT rights defenders.
  • Investigate arbitrary arrested based on sexual orientation or gender identity and adopt the necessary legislation to eliminate these practices.
  • Release all prisoners who are currently detained on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Repeal legislation that criminalizes sexual relations with a person of the same sex.