Gay rights campaigners raised the alarm today after Cameroon arrested 10 women on suspicion of being lesbians.
Public broadcaster Cameroon Radio Television said on Thursday that they were being held in Ambam, 190 miles from the capital Yaounde.
Gay sex is a criminal offence in Cameroon, with sentences ranging from six months to five years in jail plus a fine.
Association for the Defence of Homosexuals founder Alice Nkom said the country’s police often use torture to extract confessions from people suspected of having same-sex relationships.
She said that “intense homophobia” was an increasingly serious threat in many African countries.
“It’s getting worse. People accused of homosexuality are put in jail straight away.”
Ms Nkom has received death threats for defending suspected gay people and the Ministry of Justice has tried to get her disbarred.
Other countries in the region are heading in the same direction with Nigeria having recently criminalised “gay advocacy groups” and “same-sex public displays of affection.”
The Ugandan parliament has been fighting for more than a year over a Bill which would introduce the death penalty for homosexual activity, and a new Bill was presented to the Liberian parliament this week to strengthen existing anti-gay laws.
Liberian Senator Jewel Taylor proposed “upgrading” gay relationships from “first-degree misdemeanors” worth a year in prison to “first-degree felonies,” which can incur a 10-year sentence.
She told reporters that she was not homophobic because she had never suggested punishing gay sex with death.
Senators are likely to approve the Bill but President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said she will not sign it into law.
The country’s recently founded Movement for the Defence of Gays and Lesbians said it would keep up the fight despite a campaign of intimidation which has seen activists attacked and their families’ homes set on fire.
Founder Archie Ponpon said: “We will not relent. People will come to the realisation that individuals should be free to practise what they wish.”
UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon told African leaders in January to stop treating gay people as “second-class citizens or even criminals,” but met a frosty reception.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network in Ireland has expressed disappointment at the defeat of the Employment Equality (Amendment) Bill 2012 in the Seanad yesterday.
The Bill, brought forward by Senator Averil Power of Fianna Fáil, sought to amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act 1998…
Obama on gay adoption
yeah totally ruining this country what a horrible guy
Fun fact: Obama has attempted to fix almost everything that he promised to fix, but the republicans have voted almost all of his bills out of congress. He’s not the problem.
That fact isn’t very fun
Seriously, what the police are doing is not “bad”, it’s illegal.
There is a reason why people are raging mad at this situation, and it’s because it’s a blatant violation of basic human rights.
If you don’t understand that, then you are part of the problem.