Pressure on Cameroon to halt human rights abuses

Published: December 27, 2012

Activist groups are keeping up the pressure on President Paul Biya to halt Cameroon’s harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBTs). But so far he has made no response to their pleas.

In October, Biya received a letter from a dozen anti-AIDS and pro-human rights groups in Cameroon, along with human rights organizations outside the country, asking him to revoke Article 347A of the Penal Code, which imposes prison sentences for people who have sex with people of the same sex. This law has led to several current cases of human rights violations and violates various international treaties that Cameroon has signed, the letter said.

The advocacy groups argued that Biya, as president, is bound by international law and customary law “to protect and promote the human rights of all citizens of Cameroon and accountable to the international community actions in this matter.”
À CAMFAIDS, la journée mondiale de lutte contre le VIH/SIDA. (Photo par Eric Lembembe)

CAMFAIDS sponsored a discussion about HIV/AIDS on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day. (Photo by Eric Lembembe)

Also in October, a report by Human Rights Watch denounced Cameroon’s record of violating the human rights of actual and suspected LGBT people. The report was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council by HRW in partnership with local LGBT organizations such as Affirmative Action, Alternatives Cameroon, the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), Evolve, and Humanity First Cameroon.

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