Cameroon: 5 activists skip anal tests, free on bail

Five LGBTI rights advocates have been released on bail at the Dschang city court in western Cameroon, ending six days of incarceration after their arrest on April 20.

Dschang city court
Dschang city court

By Steeves Winner

The five staff members of Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest (AJO), the local group that fights AIDS and supports LGBTI rights, were rounded up at the group’s headquarters by local police on April 20. They were held on suspicion of homosexuality, but never were charged with any crime.

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Article 347-1 of the country’s penal code outlaws sexual relations between people of the same sex, but does not outlaw homosexuality as a sexual orientation — though police in Cameroon often fail to make that distinction.

The country’s LGBTI rights organizations worked together for the release of the arrested staff members of Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest (Youthful Future of the West). With financial support from the Global Fund, Cameroonian activists sent attorney Jatan Ndongo to Dschang from the capital, Yaoundé, to handle the case.

Logo of Avenir Jeune de l'Ouest
Logo of Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest

On April 25, Ndongo and an attorney from UNAIDS negotiated the five men’s release on bail at Dschang city court.

The judge told the men to report for anal examinations on May 2 at the police station. Such tests anal exams are notorious for being both abusive and worthless in determining a person’s sexual behavior.

The anal exams did not take place because Ngongo instructed the men  to stay away, since the exams are such a degrading procedure.

Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at

Steeves Winner adds:

On Dec. 19, 1986, Cameroon ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which was drafted in New York in December 1984.

That sounds grand, but seems to be meaningless, or worse. Laws may be a paradise, but the application of them can be hell.

Sadly, Cameroon shows no sign of respecting the commitments it makes when it ratifies treaties such as the Convention Against Torture.

What is the use of signing a treaty that we will not apply and will not respect?

Source: Rights Africa

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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