Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How can the International Community Curb Anti-Gay Laws in Cameroon?

This use of criminal law to punish private sexual activity between consenting adults contravenes international human rights laws that Cameroon has signed and ratified,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

In the last six months, the Cameroon Government has violated the human rights of its homosexual community: “Discriminatory laws that target individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity create a climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals,” said Parfait Behen, the president of Alternatives Cameroun.

According to an Amnesty International article, at least ten individuals have been arrested under law that discriminates based upon sexual orientation. Once detained, the supposed homosexuals tortured and treated very poorly while in custody:
“These laws allow police and other actors to target individuals for harassment or violence with impunity, said Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of IGLHRC.

Fortunately, five human rights groups - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), L’Association pour la Défense des Droits des Homosexuel(le)s (ADEFHO), and Alternatives Cameroun - joined the fight to urge the Cameroon Government to release all individuals detained under discriminatory law. Despite pressure from these groups, Cameroon's discriminatory practices are not likely to fade all that quickly; resulting in increasing torture and ill-treatment of the homosexual community.

What can be done, if anything, to pressure the Cameroon Government to stop these discriminatory practices? Does the burden fall on developed nations, such as the United States, to pressure the Cameroon Government? Or, is the solution to help homosexuals in Cameroon attain formal "refugee" status; and help them re-locate? What should be done?

2 comments:

arabianknight said...

Relocating homosexuals should not be the answer. If a country continues to have discriminatory practices towards certain groups, I feel that it is the job of the governments who have power to at the very least, show their dissatisfaction. If you relocate Homosexuals today, you might have to relocate autistic people next, and then people with AIDS, and the pattern would continue. Having said that, a question can also be asked: at what point do we decide a certain group needs help?
Solution: I would suggest creation of a world government, like the UN, but with more power to sanction.

Ross said...

Good point - I think with any drastic action, such as relocating homosexuals, there can be a slippery slope that follows. The solution is definitely a difficult one. The one you proposed is interesting; although I do not think an all-powerful "world government" is desirable. Having such a powerful body has potential to be very corrupt, and oppressive; leading to even more human rights violations. Interesting to consider, though...