Thursday, April 9, 2015

Homosexuality gaining grounds in Cameroon ?

By Tanji Ntonifor
 Homosexuality is a crime in Cameroon yet it appears to be gaining grounds in this Central African country.
      According to Section 347 of Cameroon penal code, "Whoever has sexual relationship with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine from 20.000Fcfa to 200.000 Fcfa"
     But a good number of Cameroonian youths are reportedly falling for this outlawed sexual orientation for various reasons with some arguing that it is a legal practice in civilized countries such as the USA and parts of Europe.
      Surprisingly in Cameroon, some Human Rights Organizations that are fully conscious of the position of the Cameroonian law on homosexuality and lesbianism publicly back this same-sex sexual orientation on grounds that it is a Human Rights issue.
Even international organizations such as   Amnesty International have on several occasions chastised Cameroon for prosecuting persons perceived to be homosexual or lesbian.
    Amnesty International has even appealed to Cameroon to de-criminalize homosexuality, yet it remains a crime in this country.
     It is public knowledge that in some Cameroonian villages those found guilty of homosexuality or lesbianism are treated as outcasts and given the treatment reserved for witches and wizards.
      Many youths have been molested, detained and prosecuted for allegedly being gay.
According to reports, Nanje Semobia Ernest, who campaigning for the de-criminalization of homosexuality in Cameroon was picked up in Limbe last March 10  by security agents.Nanje was doing the campaign after they organized a seminar on “Sexual minorities and Homosexuality”, which was interpreted by local authorities as promoting homosexuality.
     It would be recalled that a certain Namondo Yvette Koffi was last March 2014 reportedly detained in Limbe suspected of lesbianism. She told human rights advocates how she was molested in detention.
      Later, Namondo, said to be a member of Human rights NGO, was reportedly dragged to court to answer charges against her for promoting lesbianism. It is not clear  whether her alleged partner was finally picked-up and how the matter ended.
    Despite the pressure being mounted on Cameroon by some Developed countries to legalize homosexuality, many still hold it is not everything that is done in the Europe and or America that Cameroon must copy blindly.

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