Geneva, 2 to 19th June 2009.
An issue of serious concern raised during the UPR of Cameroon relates to the criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct under article 347 of Cameroon’s Penal code. Such provisions are a violation of established international human rights law and a major threat to public health.
During this Council's Review of Cameroon in February 2009, many member states recommended that the Cameroonian government amend its penal code by repealing this law in order to comply with its treaty obligations. These recommendations are reflected in the Working Group report. The inaction of the National Assembly in repealing this repressive provision makes this call still more urgent.
The response from the government was “This is an extremely sensitive issue in the cultural environment and whereas Cameroon understands the wishes of the international community, it must balance them with this sensitivity. “
Unfortunately, there is no balance in the current law, nor does it respect international human rights obligations. The laws continues to be the source of numerous incidents of harassment, abuses, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions. It continues to pose a threat to public health as it frustrates the important work of creating access to HIV preventions and awareness for Men who have sex with men. More than 30 girls were expelled from school on suspicion of being lesbians. At least two men are currently being detained on grounds of homosexuality.
Treaty bodies have repeatedly affirmed that laws criminalising homosexuality violate international rights to privacy and non-discrimination. As the High Commissioner for Human Rights also emphasized recently:
“there remain all too many countries which continue to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex in defiance of established human rights law.”
In consideration of the recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review, we ask the Cameroonian government;
· To ensure that the human rights of LGBT individuals and human rights defenders are not violated,
· To repeal article 347 of its penal code.
· To take measures to recognise and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities, and extend its HIV intervention programs to include same-sex practicing people.
Thank you very much Mr President.