A new report by four human rights groups finds that gays or those perceived to be gay in Cameroon, which criminalizes homosexuality, face widespread unwarranted
arrests, beatings, and a pervasive societal atmosphere of discrimination and intimidation.
The 62-page report, based on interviews with 45 victims of antigay abuse and authored by Alternatives-Cameroun, L'Association Pour la Defense des Droits des Homosexuels, Human Rights Watch, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, found that gays are routinely subject to violence at the hands of prison guards and are often held without charge beyond the amount of time allowed by law.
"Lesbian, gays, and bisexuals in Cameroon are considered lower than
dogs," said Sebastien Mandeng of L'Association Pour la Defense des Droits des Homosexuels, "They face great injustice because of
Government officials have long denied the existence of the problem. In July one official rejected claims by a gay man
seeking asylum in the United Kingdom that he would be persecuted if
forced to return to his home country.
Though homosexuality is
illegal in Cameroon and punishable by up to three years in prison,
Cameroon's communications minister, Issa Tchiroma, said during a
Wednesday appearance on the BBC's Network Africa, "What I can emphasize
is the fact that no homosexual is persecuted in Cameroon."