Recent media observations indicate that Alice Nkom, the famous advocate, strong campaigner of gay rights and founder of the Cameroon based non-profit Association to Defend Homosexuals (ADEFHO), may be taken into custody before the week closes.
A spokesperson from Cameroon’s Ministry of Communication indicated on a television show on Canal Plus Sunday afternoon that Ms. Nkom had been found to be guilty of not obeying Cameroon’s law, and posing serious risk to the secularism and freedom that the law of the land upholds.
The charges that have been leveled against her is that she had been triumphant in her efforts to secure a grant from the European Union to tackle homophobia in Cameroon.
Indulging in relationships with the same sex is a punishable offence in Cameroon and can get the wrong doer anything up to five years of time in prison and a fine of 50 to 500 dollars.
Studies also indicate that the punishment can be even worse than what is stipulated since, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in Cameroon have been found to be highly prone to physical and mental torture in the jail, abuse and violence within their communities and are not even allowed to bring up their own kids.
Ms Nkom’s outfit has been tirelessly involved in trying to oppose these laws which would in any other country be qualified as a violation of human rights. On January 4th the association had announced that it had been qualified to secure a grant of 300,000 Euros from the European Union in order to fund a project titled, “Support and training for sexual minorities.”
Groups who do not respect LGBT sentiment took this as a cue to unite at double speed and they have reacted quite strongly against this grant voicing it as an interference of European Union in the affairs of Cameroon.
These anti- LGBT groups allege that the European Union is funding a venture that is against the laws of the land in Cameroon.
These groups have also voiced the opinion that in such a case the European Union would be party and hold equal responsibility for any crime that would happen under this regard.
Human rights activists however choose to deny these allegations stating that though LGBT activities are not legalized in the country they have not been stated anywhere as criminal in nature.
Therefore working for the upliftment and freedom of the LGBT population is hence totally withi8n the framework of the law as long as those ventures do not promote the same- sex acts.
On January 7, a spokesperson for a delegation that represented a group of youth organizations called upon a “fatwa” against LGBT population in Cameroon, evoking the youth to “track them, denounce them, without any pity, not a single bit.”
The same delegation has also threatened to hold rallies to voice their protests outside the European Union office in Cameroon and also asked the Cameroonian Government to do whatever would be necessary to prevent the transfer of funds from the EU to Ms Nkom’s outfit.
The leader has asked that the representative of the European Union also be arrested. The impact of protest against Ms. Nkom and her organization have been on a rise ever since and has now undergone a more serious makeover as the Minister of Communication representative, goes on air leveling charges against Ms. Nkom of crime.
“We must remain vigilant for her safety,” says Charles Gueboguo, African scholar and author of a book-length study on homosexuality in Cameroon.
“She is the only lawyer operating in Cameroon who defends the rights of LGBT people, work that she does pro bono. Now her outspokenness has made her a challenge to the government’s homophobic policies, so they want to shut her up.”
Ms. Nkom also sounded worried but still optimistic of the cause she works for.
“Do not worry for me,” she e-mailed a group of Cameroon’s leading gay rights activists. “I believe I will be arrested in the coming days, but I will not lose sleep over this or, especially, abandon what we have begun together.”
Ms. Nkom was jailed for sometime in 2006 while for meeting one of her gay clients in prison.Pin It