Friday, August 20, 2010

Human rights groups urge Cameroon to decriminalize homosexuality

It is no secret that homosexuality is a criminalized taboo in Cameroon, like in Malawi and many other African countries where abuse and violence against homosexuals, transgender and bisexual people is common practice. In Cameroon, homosexuals are subject to arrest and prosecution by state functionaries. Members of this minority group also face rejection and violence from family members in their homes. It is against this backdrop that Human Rights Watch and Alternatives-Cameroun, a non-profit organization working for equality, tolerance and respect for socially excluded people in Cameroon, urged the government of Cameroon to decriminalize homosexuality and same-sex acts.

According to a news release by Human Rights Watch on 19 August 2010, suspected homosexuals in Cameroon are being arrested and beaten while in custody. Suspected lesbians suffer violence and expulsion from their homes, and in some cases, their children are taken away.

Cameroon is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Hence, the State has a legal obligation under international law to threat all individuals equally - without any distinction as to race, colour, sex, language, religion or other grounds.

It is true that many Cameroonians are in favor of the law that criminalizes homosexuality, and would kick against a call to decriminalize the practice. This is the case because many argue that homosexuality is an immoral "Western" practice. But it is also true that criminalization of homosexuality in Cameroon amounts to unequal treatment of individuals before the law, on grounds of sexual orientation. Believe it or not!

Decriminalizing homosexuality in Cameroon would go a long way to guarantee equal treatment of homosexuals before the law. However, only education and effective sensitization of the public would end widespread prejudice against homosexuals in Cameroon.

As a side note, I was elated by the Human Rights Watch news release about a "forgotten" country - Cameroon. You would agree that this West African country is, more often than not, left out in international human rights discourse. Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organizations should spend more time in Cameroon and shed light on more untold human rights violations in the country. Talking about human rights and the Rule of Law in Cameroon - the criminalization of homosexuality is only a tip of the iceberg.


  1. This homosexuality issue is madness!!!!! remember that God created man & woman not Man & Man !!!!So how has it been that men & men go together!!!!! & Women & Women together !!! How will they have kids!!!!! Who will bore the baby!!!! let them not tell me that they will bore babies!!! No the will borrow a lady's womb to carry their babies!!!!Please Let this Madness Stop!!!!

  2. Well said Zuzeeko, but i must draw your attention to one thing as far as homosexuality is concerned one thing is clear, the supreme law of our land i.e the constitution of Cameroon clearly states that any law that is contrary to the customs and practices of our people is null and void.The conventions you mentioned above to which Cameroon is a party to, must be taken with a pinch of salt.When it comes to interpretation and application of these conventions i think the supreme law of our land will previal in the sense that any aspect or part of the law which is inconsistent with the constitution is of no effect. Come to think of it i dont think any body has the supreme intelligence to interprete laws in the world ,there is no express mention of the rights of homosexuals in any of the above conventions, thus a broad interpretation of its meaning is open to each signatory nation.The purpose of a law is to make society happy and hamonious thus if a law tends to bring anarchy,disorder and worst of it unrest among the people who are to benefit under the same law then i think that law should never be part of that system.An over broad interpretation of international conventions is an aspect which each member state must determind,because of differences in laws and customs.One day am convinced Euthanasia will be regarded as a humanright.Let humanrights watch be careful because no NGO in cameroon is legally permitted to defend homosexuals, by implication HRW is encouraging lawlessness and illegality.Cameroon is state with more that 300 customs and non of it accepts this practice.Thus Homosexuality is a moral and not a legal issue and has no place in the Cameroonian society.

  3. Halle, thanks for weighing in.

    Let me draw your attention to the fact that Cameroon assented to the ICCPR in June 1984 without any reservations or concern that the Covenant is incompatible with the Constitution. Hence, the state has a legal obligation under international law to respect and promote ALL provisions of the ICCPR, and to reform any national law which is incompatible with provisions of the Covenant.

    The State is not allowed to interprete the Covenant to suit its agenda. For instance, any argument that Article 26 of the ICCPR does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation would not hold water.

  4. Well, I should thank Zuzeeko for his great job by making this platfform possible. I've been reading you from Spain for a long while- more than a year. As a Francophone Cameroonian, I am greatful because your English is so clear that I can understand your messages without any difficulties.

    This aside, on this issue I completely agree with you. Firstly, as I an educated person, I am aware that African people are not different from other human beings around the planet, we even have African descents in Western India or Australia. By saying this, I want to underline the fact that we are essentially equal, even with different customs and histories, but inner features such as the ability to think, create, to help our people and, why not, to love whoever our nature leads us to love.

    This is to NJI:
    I have met homosexuals from India, Iran, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Sweden... and of course, from Cameroon. The same way man feels attraction to woman and vice versa, and this has nothing to do with Western values, 'cause that is Global, homosexuals are part of human nature. I am Cameroonian and did not choose to be gay, it just happened somewhere in my childhood, the same way I guess heterosexuals do not choose it ( I don't know your sexual orientation).

    God created man and woman, yes, but It did not say that we were to love all the same way. Have you thought that if God wanted us otherwise, It would have created us otherwise? Have you thought that if you cannot change your sexuality to become homosexual, the same restriction applies to us? Have you thought that if you cannot turn gay, nor the 80-90% of the world population, that means that there will always be children? Have you thought that even straight people can turn out to be un-fertile? Are they un-natural because they cannot spread children over the world, as you would think?

    And finally: HAVE YOU THOUGHT THAT BEING HOMOSEXUAL DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE CHILDREN ON YOUR OWN? THIS IS HISTORY, IT HAS ALWAYS EXISTED AND IT WILL KEEP ON EXISTING. LIVE YOUR LIVE AND LEAVE PEOPLE LIVE THEIRS. Life in Cameroon is hard enough with Paul Biya's Corruptocracy and poverty, people struggle hard to earn their living. Set people free and let us go to hell. But leave it to God. All that bullshit In his name is an excuse to justify your evilness.

    Finally, I would like to apologize for yelling, Zuzeeko. Your blog is really interesting. Hope life is treating you well.

    1. I disagree. If we continue to allow this madness, we're all doomed. Cameroon has such a rich culture, it does not need western immorality screwing it up.


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