Africa

Cameroon: 7 in prison on anti-LGBT charges; 58 rights abuses

Logo of Cameroonian LGBT rights groups' National Monitoring Center (Observatoire) for the Rights of LGBTI People and their Defenders

Logo of Cameroonian LGBTI rights groups’ National Monitoring Center (Observatoire) for the Rights of LGBTI People and their Defenders

 

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.

Chart shows types of human rights abuses in Cameroon in late 2016 and early 2017. (Graphic courtesy of National Monitoring Center for the Rights of LGBTI People and their Defenders)

Chart shows types of human rights abuses in Cameroon during late 2016 and early 2017. (Graphic courtesy of National Monitoring Center for the Rights of LGBTI People and their Defenders)

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.

Une annonce affichée au snack Alyzé à Yaoundé -- « INTERDIT AUX HOMOSEXUELLES ». (Photo de Facebok)

Notice at the Alizé snack bar in Yaoundé, Cameroon, states “Homosexuals Prohibited.” (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

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.

L'atelier du 19 au 21 Octobre 2016 qui ont planifié l'Observatoire national des droits des personnes LGBT et de leurs defenseurs. (Photo de Camfaids, qui a approuvé sa publication)

Participants in an October 2016 workshop planned the new National Monitoring Center for the Rights of LGBTI people and their Defenders. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids, which approved its publication)

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.

76crimes.com, January 2017]

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

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4 thoughts on “Cameroon: 7 in prison on anti-LGBT charges; 58 rights abuses

  1. Pingback: Cameroon: 2 reports of corrective rape against lesbians held on anti-homosexuality charges | Listening to Lesbians

  2. Pingback: Polish pro-equal rights march | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Under siege, LGBT rights center closes in Cameroon | 76 CRIMES

  4. Pingback: Cameroon LGBTI center reopens; police issue summons | 76 CRIMES

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