UN rights office blasts Cameroon over persecution of LGBTs

UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s office urges Cameroon to stop jailing suspected homosexuals on circumstantial evidence and to reconsider its criminalization of sex between men

UN rights office blasts Cameroon over persecution of LGBTs
17 November 2012

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed its displeasure over the treatment of LGBT people by the West African nation of Cameroon where people are being convicted under the country’s sodomy law without any evidence of them having had sex.

Cameroon’s penal code outlaws sex between men. However men have been jailed on suspicion of being homosexual on the basis of things as trivial as sending text messages and acting effeminately and drinking supposedly non-macho beverages.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville told the Voice of America that the UN is seriously concerned at the way that Cameroon was imprisoning people for the mere suspicion of being homosexuals.

‘In 2011, for example, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was convicted of suspected homosexual conduct after the authorities discovered he has sent a text message to another man that read ‘I am very much in love with you,’ Colville told the Voice of America.

‘Last month, Jonas Singa Kumi and Franky Djome were convicted on the basis of evidence of their appearance, which was perceived as effeminate, and the fact that they had been seen drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream.

‘Laws that target people because of their sexual orientation are discriminatory  … we strongly oppose them and we obviously try and convince governments that have such laws to change them. 

‘Many governments have had these kinds of laws and have changed them over the years so we hope Cameroon will do [so] as well.’

Earlier this year the Catholic Archbishop of Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé called homosexuality ‘an affront to the family, enemy of women and creation’ ahead of a national ‘Gay Hate Day’ in August while advocates for LGBT rights in the country have received death threats.

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