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Human Rights Watch calls on Cameroonian government to legalize homosexuality

by Theophile
L’ONG Human Rights Watch

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch calls on the Cameroonian government to repeal “the anti-homosexuality law” as soon as possible.

On August 8, 2021, Cameroon’s most famous transgender, Loïc Njuekam Midrel alias Shakiro, and one of his companions were physically assaulted by people who seemed to blame him for his sexual orientation. Images of the assault were filmed and broadcast online; at the same time provoking reactions of indignation from certain human rights organizations.

In a communiqué, the human rights organization, under the pretext of the homophobic aggression against Shakiro and Patricia, two transgender women, in Douala, refers to an intensification since 2021, of the persecution approved by the State of LGBT people in Cameroon.

Shakiro told Human Rights Watch that she and Patricia were attacked by a violent group on August 8 at around 1 a.m. in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. The attackers forcibly pulled them out of a taxi, cursed them and threatened them with death, and beat them for about 30 minutes before fleeing when the gendarmes arrived. The attack was captured in a video that was immediately circulated on social media, ”the Human Rights Watch statement said.

According to the ONG, “Shakiro and Patricia filed a complaint with the police against their attackers.” However for HRW, the two transgender women “have little hope of obtaining justice in Cameroon, where discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is institutionalized and acts of violence against these people. are frequent.

To support its argument about the intensification of the repression, Human Rights Watch reports that “between February and April this year, security forces arrested at least 27 people, including a child, for alleged consensual sex between people of same sex or for gender nonconformity, beating some of them and forcibly subjecting them to anal examination. “.

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Citing LGBT activists and lawyers, HRW points to Cameroonian legislation which, according to her, “punishing same-sex sexual relations contributes to a homophobic and transphobic climate“.

The NGO thus declares to remind authorities who ignore “the rhetoric of hatred and acts of violence“, “of their responsibility to protect LGBT people“.

Cameroon is indeed regularly presented as one of the most homophobic countries in Africa. Article 347 bis of the Cameroonian Penal Code punishes “with imprisonment of six months to five years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 FCFA any person who has sexual relations with a person of his sex“.

Faced with this situation, Human Rights Watch calls on the country’s authorities to protect people from the LGBT community. “It is the responsibility of the government of Cameroon to protect all Cameroonians. The authorities should ensure that Shakiro and Patricia have access to justice and act quickly to repeal the anti-homosexuality law, ”the organization urges.


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