from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – CAMEROON security forces have reportedly arrested, beaten or threatened at least 24 people during a crackdown against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Among those arrested during the clampdown reported to have begun on February 21 is a 17-year-old boy.
At least one of those arrested has reportedly been forced to undergo an HIV test and anal examination.
They face up to five years in prison as sexual relations between people of the same sex are criminalized in Cameroon.
Neela Ghoshal, associate LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the recent arrests and abuses raised serious concerns about a new upsurge in anti-LGBT persecution in the Central African country.
“The law criminalizing same-sex conduct puts LGBT people at a heightened risk of being mistreated, tortured, and assaulted without any consequences for the abusers.”
Officials from the Justice and Defense ministries had not responded to HRW enquiries.
Ghoshal said the government of President Paul Biya had an obligation to uphold the rights of everyone in Cameroon, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
HRW has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of ill-treatment of detainees on the grounds of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The authorities should immediately end arbitrary arrests on the basis of sexual identity and forced anal examinations and should take swift steps to repeal the law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations,” Ghoshal said.
– CAJ News