Target: Cameroon President Paul Biya
Goal: End the ongoing torture and imprisonment of gay individuals in Cameroon
In the last decade, Cameroon has prosecuted and incarcerated more gay people than any other country. More than 76 other countries have similar laws, but they’re rarely, if ever, enforced. Nevertheless, in the last three years, Cameroon prosecutors have brought charges against at least 28 men because of their homosexuality. These men are arrested and often prosecuted with little to no evidence. And when evidence is lacking or nonexistent, authorities have resorted to torture in order to elicit confessions.
Under article 347 bis of Cameroon’s penal code, if any citizen engages in “consensual same-sex conduct,” it’s grounds for criminal prosecution. Although the law presents a significant human rights violation in and of itself, the Chief of Cameroon’s police force, along with other government officials, have been on record as saying the law only applies to individuals whom “engage in same-sex conduct publicly.” In a Human Rights Watch investigation that looked at eight of these cases between 2010 and 2012, however, in not one instance did any evidence show that sexual intercourse had taken place publicly.
In fact, most of these arrests have been a result of mere “set-ups.” Case in point: A Cameroon man who allegedly turned down the advances of a homosexual man contacted authorities shortly after. After he set-up a meeting time with the alleged homosexual, he had the man arrested by security forces on the grounds that he was gay. Similarly, in another case, two men in Yaoundé were arrested on homosexuality charges shortly after calling police following a robbery. Although their laptop was stolen, it didn’t seem to matter to police more than the fact that there were condoms and lubricant in their house.
These cases are marred by fundamental due process violations, a lack of any right to privacy, and an unwillingness by the Cameroon justice system to acknowledge its rampant homophobia. The arrests, torture, and imprisonment of members of Cameroon’s gay community has also contravened international human rights law that has been ratified by Cameroon’s government. According to article 45 of Cameroon’s constitution, when international law is in conflict with national law, international law supersedes it.
Help bring an end to the ongoing harassment, torture, and persecution of gay people in Cameroon by signing this petition.
Dear President Paul Biya,
Cameroon’s ongoing persecution of gay people must come to an end. Although government officials have repeatedly claimed that article 347 bis of the penal code only applies to public intercourse between people of the same sex, security forces have arrested Cameroonians for simply being homosexual. In the last three years, this law has been invoked to prosecute at least 28 people—more than any other nation in the world. And in some of these cases, men are tortured to elicit confessions.
The fundamental lack of due process, violations of privacy, and rampant homophobia within Cameroon’s justice system must be addressed by your administration. The arrests, imprisonment, and torture of Cameroons’ homosexuals contravenes international human rights law. And according to article 45 of Cameroon’s constitution, when international law is ratified by your government and is in conflict with national law, the former supersedes the latter.
Please bring an end to these human rights violations against the LBGT community. The torture and imprisonment of gay Cameroonians violates international human rights law—and is an abomination for your country.
[Your Name Here]
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