In Cameroon, seven people have been tried, convicted and are still being held in jail for homosexuality, according to a report by the new National Monitoring Center for the Rights of LGBTI people and their Defenders. Among 58 cases of human rights abuses, the report highlights:
- 16 arbitrary arrests of LGBTI people.
- Two “corrective rapes.”
- 15 cases of assault and physical violence against LGBTI people.
- 11 incidents of cases of LGBTI-focused scams and blackmail, including yet another one perpetrated by the notorious extortionist Ekobo Samba, who remains unchallenged by police.
By Erin Royal Brokovitch
A new human rights monitoring center, established late last year through a cooperative effort of Cameroon’s LGBTI rights organizations, has delivered its first report.
As soon as it was launched last year, the new LGBTI-focused Monitoring Center set to work. It has now published a report emerging on human rights abuses in Cameroon between September 2016 and February 2017.
Abuse victims ranged in age from 19 to 50 years, the report states.
The report cited two cases of anti-lesbian “corrective rape” involving a student in Douala in October and an activist in Yaoundé in a taxi in November.
Reported violations also included seven people accused, tried and still imprisoned on homosexuality charges; and 16 cases of arbitrary arrest, including three youthful dancers arrested by members of the Nkolmesseng police brigade who were tortured by those officers. The police demanded money, but the youths refused. In response, the irritated officers beat them with truncheons, which gave one of the youths a hernia.
The report also cited cases of defamation, harassment, threats, and discrimination in popular places of entertainment (the cases of the Alyzé snack bar and the Mistral cabaret in Yaoundé); 15 cases of assault and physical violence against LGBTI people; an anti-LGBT attempted rape of a 19-year-old girl in the town of Mbandjock; blackmail by law enforcement officials; and 11 incidents of LGBTI-focused scams and blackmail, including extortion by the infamous Ekobo Samba, who continues a six-year crime spree against LGBT Cameroonians without police intervention.
Despite all that, the report provides some reassurance about the battle for justice for LGBTI people in Cameroon. The very existence of an active monitoring center shows the strength of the LGBTI rights movement, as does advocates’ cooperation in observing and reporting violations. The report should also help focus attention on the plight of detained persons, and assist LGBTI rights defenders to intervene on their behalf.
The report describes and categorizes information collected by a network of LGBTI associations from throughout the country. In this report, from 11 cities in six regions.
[Twenty-one advocacy groups are involved in this joint venture, 20 of them LGBTI associations — Camfaids, Sidado, Affirmative Action, Adefho, ELLES Cameroon, Lady’s Cooperation, Alcondoms, Acodev, Children of Africa, Trésor Progrès, Cofenho, CAMEF, the Association for Humanitarian Assistance, the Association Against AIDS, ASGJA, Future Youth of the West, Hummingbird, Friends of the Heart, Cerludhus and Adepev. Their chosen partner in the venture is Redhac (the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa), the 21st group.
In the latest report, Cameroon’s central region had 30 cases of human rights abuses, including 29 in the capital city, Yaoundé. The Littoral region had 14 cases in Douala, followed by the West with six cases, the North with four cases, the South with three and the East with one case. In total: 58.
Erin Royal Brokovitch, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym.
The report in full (in French):
« RAPPORT NATIONAL DE VIOLATION DES DROITS HUMAINS »
September 2016- February 2017
- In Cameroon, LGBT groups start working together — at last (January 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Cameroon police detain accused gay man for 9 days (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- LGBTI activists challenge Cameroon police harassment (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Support for imperiled LGBTI activists in Cameroon (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- One arrest, one scam, one threat in Cameroon (February 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Another attack on a Cameroon activist; a plea for help (July 2015, 76crimes.com)