Seeking support for plea to Cameroon to stop jailing gays

Several activist groups in Cameroon are preparing an open letter to the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, urging him to suspend enforcement of the Cameroonian law against homosexuality and to release seven people who are in prison because of it.

Support is welcome from other organizations outside Cameroon that promote human rights and/or are fighting against AIDS.

Delivery of the letter is scheduled for early next week, so supportive organizations should respond to the request this week (by Sunday, Oct. 7, at the latest). Reply by email to:

Dominique Menoga, president of the Cameroon Foundation for AIDS, or Camfaids,  and to
Colin Stewart, editor/publisher of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, who is helping to coordinate the effort with Camfaids .
The letter states, in part:

Mr. President of the Republic of Cameroon,

We associations for the defense of human rights and the fight against HIV / AIDS are writing to seek immediate, concrete action to remove Section 347a of the Criminal Procedure Code, which criminalizes sex between people of the same sex. This article is the source of many current violations of human rights in Cameroon. …

Article 347a is not only useless but also creates a climate of impunity that allows gays and lesbians in Cameroon to be mocked and subjected to extortion of all kinds.

Article 347a is unjust in its application, leading to arbitrary detention of people whose only wrong is to look different — too feminine or too masculine — when in fact it only criminalized the act of sodomy.

Article 347a is dangerous, because it hinders the fight against HIV / AIDS, which affects equally both men and women, heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.

Article 347a is superfluous, because it forces the justice system to deal with matters that should be private — the right of each of us to live our lives and to live out our sexuality as we understand it, without damage to the lives of others, in the privacy of our bedrooms and our homes.

Copies of the current draft of the letter can be downloaded in English and in French.

At latest count, these organizations have signed the letter:

  • Camfaids
  • REDS
  • Pan Africa ILGA – PAI
  • Spirit of 76 Worldwide project of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation
  • Office the Unitarian Universalist Association at the United Nations
  • Global Justice Institute
  • Metropolitan Community Churches
  • The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
  • Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative, Nigeria

by Colin Stewart
Source – Erasing 76 Crimes