Does the World Care About Gays in Cameroon?


Two men arrested in August in Cameroon for looking effeminate and who reportedly “confessed” to homosexuality after being tortured are being defended today, October 10, in court by the legendary Cameroonian LGBT human rights defender Alice N’Kom (pictured).

This morning she sent out a message:

I’m about to walk into a courtroom in downtown Yaoundé to defend Jonas, 19 and Franky, 20 – two Cameroonian boys arrested last July for the “crime” of being gay.

It’s going to be a tough one, but I’ve never felt so strong: I know I have your support and 55,000 people behind me.

A third man was arrested with Jonas and Franky but bailed, according to the Cameroon LGBT group Association for Defense of Homosexuality (ADEFHO), “thanks largely to his money.” N’Kom continues:

Your efforts are having an immediate impact. My cell phone has been ringing non-stop with everyone from diplomats to human rights organizations and high profile media telling me that they are now paying attention to the crisis here. Also, I just heard that today’s case is being closely monitored at the highest levels of our government. The Ministry of Justice knows the world is watching and that Cameroon’s reputation is at stake.

This is really positive – but many of the people arrested because they are gay are still in jail, and the violence is ongoing. We need to show the authorities that we will not stop until everyone is released, and until homosexuality is no longer criminalized under Cameroon’s laws.

At least ten men have been arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality in Cameroon so far this year. Roger Jean Claude Mbede is one imprisoned in Yaoundé Central Prison (Kondengui) for homosexuality. According to Alternatives-Cameroun, he is suffering in a state of deplorable health and lack of food.

“He told us he slept on the ground since his imprisonment, and is abandoned by most of his family members who regard him as a wizard,” they said.

Amnesty International is running an international campaign demanding Mbede’s release.

A proposed revision to Cameroon’s criminal code will equate homosexuality with pedophilia, according to activists.

Two new by-laws punish homosexual acts on minors between 16 and 21 years of age to eight years in jail with 10-15 year terms available for acts committed on minors younger than 16, activist Stéphane Koche told AFP.

N’Kom is asking for further support and to push the petition calling for an end to LGBT discrimination in Cameroon. Supporters can send a message via Facebook or Twitter. Another option is to tweet to President Biya’s account.

Cameroon is a member of the Commonwealth, one of only two non-former British colonies to join.

There is a major campaign to get the issue of homosexuality and HIV/Aids onto the agenda of the Commonwealth leaders summit in Perth, Australia, from October 28-30. Laws like Cameroon’s stop people who are at greater risk of HIV from accessing key prevention services and life-saving treatment services. As a result, more people are infected and ultimately more people will die.

Sign the petition urging action to stop HIV.


Related Stories:

Amnesty: Cameroon Must Free Men Detained for Being Gay

Cameroon to Toughen Anti-Gay Laws

Seychelles to Decriminalize Homosexuality, Other Countries Say No


Alice N'Kom image via Wikipedia


Alicia N.
Alicia N7 years ago

signed both petitions before but, thanks anyway.

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Mara C.
Past Member 7 years ago

Before we try to save the world, we need to look homeward and save ourselves!

Bruno Clements
Bruno Clements7 years ago

All humans deserve equal rights regardless of sexual oriententation, origin or belief. It's a shame I probably won't see it in my lifetime.

Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy7 years ago

Where is the international outcry? Why is the hate of homosexuality so universal? When will we learn that regardless if you believe in a god or just believe in evolution, diversity is essential to the survival of the every species. To be gay is to just be a part of the great human diversity, nothing more, and must therefore also be a fundamental part of either evolution or god's plan.

Lena T.
Lena T7 years ago

Thanks to people such as Alice N’Kom there is always hope that things may change some day. I'm glad that so many people take it seriously and are ready to help.

Sue H.
.7 years ago

Signed this petition months ago. I'm always ready to promote Human Rights worldwide because I live in this world and what happens anywhere will eventually affect us too. And I want what affects us to be always positive.

Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

I think that Jeffrey W. and Mike C. are Siamese twins, not even related, just joined at the hip.

Christine Stewart

It's not that we don't care, it's that we didn't know- thank you Care2 and Alice N'Kom for informing me of this injustice and providing a petition to sign!

Christopher C.
Chris C7 years ago

Jeffrey W said "no". Well nobody cares about your ugly fat ass either Jeffrey. Maybe all those homeless people you have your booby-babes beat up will turn on you and whip you ass and ugly face into submission. Maybe then you'll realize what other's go through when discrimination hits home. But because you have no heart, and ice/water flows through your veins, I doubt even being almost pummeled to death wouldn't change your hardened head & heart.