Cameroon: Arbitrary Arrests and Detention of Men on Charges Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Contact: Cary Alan Johnson, Senior Africa Specialist, New York, 1.212.430.6053

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of 11 men arrested in Yaounde and Douala, Cameroon over the past month. The men are all being held under Article 347 of the Cameroon penal code, which criminalizes consensual sex between men. In 2006, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Cameroon’s detention of 11 men on Sodomy charges was a violation of the rights to privacy and non-discrimination and asked Cameroon to review Article 347. Despite that finding, Cameroon convicted seven of the 11 previous detainees and continues to arrest men and women on sodomy charges.

Six men were arrested on August 31, 2007, in Bonanjo, Douala after a young man who had been arrested on theft charges was coerced by police into naming associates who were presumed to be homosexual. The six detainees are:

  • EWANE Yves Noe
  • AROUN Amadou
  • SONGUE Modeste
  • AKUBWEZE Sammuel

Three other men were arrested in Bonapriso, Douala shortly after mid-night on August 31, 2007, by police officers patrolling streets and making random checks for armed robbers. The police officers took them to a police station for interrogation, and while they denied allegations of robbery and theft, under the duress of beatings by the police, one of the men confessed to his and the two other's homosexuality.

IGLHRC has received reports that yet two other young men were arrested in Yaounde on August 25, 2007 and are being held at Kondegui Prison after neighbors reported them to the police. The two men are:

  • NTEP Amour
  • TSIMI Constantin, a cook

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is the only human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or murder because of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV status. IGLHRC addresses human rights violations by partnering with and supporting activists on the ground in countries around the world, by monitoring and documenting abuses, by engaging offending governments, and by educating international human rights officials. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in Johannesburg, San Francisco and Buenos Aires.