Gay men in the West African nation routinely suffer physical abuse, torture and are "forced to undergo anal examinations" when they are held in police custody, according to a damning new report by Amnesty International. Download the report (pdf) HERE.
LGBTI people in custody are also forced to undergo anal examinations in a mistaken belief by the authorities that the examinations can prove whether or not people are engaging in same-sex relations. “There is no justification whatsoever for this illegal, degrading treatment. It represents a severe breach of medical ethics and has to end immediately,” says Godfrey Byaruhanga, Amnesty International’s central Africa researcher.
Defence lawyers for LGBTI people have recently received death threats against themselves and their children for defending homosexuals.
The report found "grave human rights violations" committed by authorities in Cameroon. President Paul Biya—who has held office since 1982—boasts one of Africa's more repressive anti-LGBT regimes and reportedly has used the "criminal justice system to [persecute] political opponents, human rights defenders, journalists and lesbian, gay, transgender" individuals, reports Amnesty.
Prisoners are housed in "inhuman conditions", starved and could be killed if they attempt escape.
Over the years dozens of prisoners attempting to escape have been shot, injured or killed by prison guards. ... Inmates in Kondengui prison only eat one meal a day and malnutrition is rife. Prison authorities informed Amnesty International that most of the detainees in one wing are mentally ill and researchers saw male inmates who were completely naked amidst a crowd of fellow prisoners.
Recent months have seen an increase in arrests and prosecutions under section 347a of its penal code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts. The government is preparing to toughen its already harsh penalties against homosexuality by equating them with pedophilia.
At least fourteen men suspected of being gay were brought to trial in 2011, the report notes. Twelve were convicted. But there has been some progress: In early January an appeals court overturned the convictions of two young men found guilty of homosexuality and sentenced to five years in prison. The youths were accused of "looking gay" and "appearing feminine" because they wore makeup and some women's clothing. The notorious case was first reported on Rod 2.0 in 2011.
Cameroon is one of at least 38 of Africa's 54 nations that currently have laws penalizing same-sex relations or even sexuality. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality.
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