Cameroon-Committee against Torture-LGBTI and Gender-based violence-October 2017

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 membersNevertheless, 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 report suggest the following recommendations for the government of Cameroon:  

●Repeal legislation that criminalizes sexual relations with a person of the same sex.

●Release all prisoners who are currently detained on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

●Investigate arbitrary arrested based on sexual orientation or gender identity and adopt the necessary legislation to eliminate these practices.

●Enact new legislation that would grant special legal protections for human rights defenders, including LGBT rights defenders. 

 Establish an independent police oversight mechanism to allow civilians to file complaints against police and other security officers without fear of retribution.

●Investigate violence against human rights defenders who help LGBT persons.