U.N. tells Cameroon to legalize gays

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has told Cameroon to decriminalize gay sex, end anti-LGBT prejudice and stigmatization, and assure that HIV-positive people receive adequate care. The July 29 move followed a presentation to the committee by Human Rights Watch and the LGBT group Alternatives-Cameroun.

"Since 2005, Alternatives-Cameroun, Human Rights Watch and other Cameroonian and international organizations have documented abuses and violence against LGBT people in Cameroon," Human Rights Watch said in an Aug. 19 media release. "Suspected homosexual men have been arrested and beaten on their bodies, heads and even the soles of their feet while in custody. Women suffer violence in their families if they are suspected of being lesbians. In some cases, they have been forced to leave their homes or their children have been taken away from them."

Alternatives-Cameroun head Steve Nemande said that implementation of the UN recommendations would result in Cameroon's doing "the bare minimum to realize the fundamental human rights enshrined in its national constitution."

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