YaoundÃ©, capital of Cameroon
Gay rights organisations have condemned a “Gay Hate Day” held in Cameroon by a youth group that claims that homosexuality is a “crime against humanity”.
The event was organised by the Cameroonian Youth Rally (Rassemblement de la Jeunesse Camerounaise) on Tuesday. The organisation said that it was acting to protect “African values”.
The organisation planned to hold an annual anti-gay parade through the streets of the capital YaoundÃ© as a mockery of a Pride parade.
It said that the day marked the anniversary of the rape and murder of a 31-year-old student, Narcisse Olivier Djomo Pokam, an incident which it blamed on the “gay mafia”.
“These anti-gay proponents say they are protecting our ‘traditional values.’ But we want to tell them that hate and homophobia are not African values,” Alice N’Kom, a Cameroonian attorney, was quoted as saying in a statement released by AllOut.org.
“A poster announcing the Gay Hate Day claims that haemorrhoids, incontinence and various infections are consequences of homosexuality,” commented Yves Yomb, director of gay rights group Alternative-Cameroun.
In another joint statement, LGBT and human rights groups warned that by fuelling homophobic sentiment across the continent “these extreme anti-gay movements are putting the lives of thousands of Cameroonians in serious danger”.
The groups also called on the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, to take a stand for human rights, stop the anti-gay crackdown and put an end to laws that make it illegal to be gay in country.
237online.com reported that in a sermon on August 15, the Catholic Archbishop of YaoundÃ©, Victor Tonye Bakot, condemned sexual relations between people of the same sex. He said that homosexuality is an “affront to the family, an enemy of women and creation.” He also considers homosexuality “a disgrace, which is disrespectful towards God”.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Cameroon with penalties including imprisonment of up to five years. According to Amnesty International, homophobia is endemic in Cameroonian society, and arrests, prosecutions and trials of gay men occur on a regular basis.