Campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says there has been an increase in the number of people jailed for being LGBT+ in Cameroon and is calling on the government to release them.
Cameroon is one of 31 African states where same-sex relationships are illegal and those found guilty can be sentenced to up to five years in prison. It has not responded to HRW’s latest report.
HRW alleges that at least 24 people have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, or threatened by security forces since February, and says “at least one of them was forced to undergo an HIV test and anal examination”.
A high-profile trial of a transgender woman – the internet celebrity Shakiro – and her partner Patricia for “suspected homosexuality” is due to return a verdict at the end of this month.
HRW quotes Cameroonian rights lawyer Alice Nkom as saying: “It is not illegal to be homosexual or transgender. According to Cameroonian law, it is the act which is the crime. So, this is a blatant human rights violation. They should be released immediately.”