Cameroon is an African country in which anti-LGBT laws have been in place for the last 30 years. In 2007, a poll found that 84 percent of Cameroonians stated that their country is not a good place for homosexuals. The current president, who has been in power for the last 31 years, as well as the catholic church are the two mains reasons why the anti-LGBT laws are in place and have no plans on being terminated. What is interesting to note is that only 39 percent of people in this country are Catholic yet this religion has such high influence on these laws. In Cameroon, officials do not require much proof to arrest and individual for being LGBT. If a person suspects an individual to be gay, they can just call the police and that individual will be arrested. Some people accuse a person just because they don’t like them but the police don’t bother doing any further investigation. Police will often sit outside of clubs that are rumored to be LGBT friendly and will arrest men and women as they leave the premises. Not all arrests result in imprisonment if the accused is able to pay a bribe. These individuals will often be rearrested and extorted all over again.
The article “Abandoned and Imprisoned for being Gay in Cameroon” discusses the lives of those who are LGBT in this country. The author of the article actually visits a prison where 20 known LGBT individuals have been incarcerated. The author describes the horrible living conditions in the prison where the individuals have been contained. In Cameroon, all inmates are required to pay for their own beds, medication, water and food. This is very difficult for arrested LGBT to do as many of their families of abandoned them, as they do not support their sexual orientation. This means that many of these individuals have to sleep on the cement floor. The author describes one female inmate who has developed a rash on her leg from the abuse she was receiving from the prison guards. She told the journalist that she could not afford the medication to heal it.
Through reading the story of what this journalist experienced while visiting this prison, I felt sorry for the LGBT individuals who are contained there. Being LGBT is not a crime and these individuals should not have to live that way. It’s horrifying to know that LGBT individuals in this county are seen as equal to criminals who have committed murders.
The author of this article also points out that the treatment towards LGBT in this county doesn’t get the same media attention as countries such as Nigeria. He explains that this could be because Cameroon lacks petroleum, which is the largest exporter of crude in Africa. I believe this is a great point to address, as there are many countries that have anti-LGBT laws that most North Americans are unaware of.
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