Cameroon LGBT Laws

Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples if unlawful [R1.3].

Penal Code (Law No. 65-LF-24 of 12 November 1965 and law No. 67-LF-1 of 12 June 1967) as amended in 1972 provides –

Whoever has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and fine of from 20,000 to 200,000 francs (unofficial translation) [R1.3].

The French text of Article 347 bis is reported to be:

Est puni d’un emprisonnement de six mois á cinq ans et d’une amende de 20.000 á 200.000 francs toute personne qui a des rapports sexuels avec une personne de son sexe [R1.3].

On 04 November 2010, the Human Rights Watch reported that Cameroonians suspected of having sexual relations with a person of the same sex were attacked by police, politicians, the media, and even their own communities [R1.2].

On 05 November 2009, the IGLHRC reported that a petition and memorandum in favour of the decriminalisation of homosexuality would be submitted to the National Assembly in the next few days [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 23 July 2013, judges in Yaoundé sentenced 48-year-old Joseph Omgbwa to two years in prison, while 19-year-old Nicolas Ntamack received a one-year term for committing homosexual acts. A third man, Seraphin Ntsama, suspected of committing homosexual acts was acquitted [R2.8].

On 07 January 2013, the Court of Appeals in Yaoundé acquitted Franky Djome and Jonas Singa Kumie, who were jailed under homophobic laws; based on their appearance and their enjoyment of drinking Bailey’s, have been released from prison [R2.7].

On 17 December 2012, the appeals court in Yaoundé upheld a three-year sentence against Jean-Claude Roger Mbédé, 32, found guilty of homosexual conduct for sending a text message to another man saying: “I’m very much in love with you” [R2.6].

On 21 September 2012, Franky Djome and Jonas Singa Kumie were sentenced to a five year prison term for being ‘perceived’ as gay by their manner of dressing and speaking [R2.5].

On 20 February 2012, in what is believed to be the first such case in the country, three women reportedly appeared in an Amdam Court, charged with practising homosexuality [R2.4].

On 22 November 2011, three men, arrested for allegedly having oral sex in a car but whose lawyer says were arrested for looking female, were sentenced by the court in Yaoundé to five years prison and fined the maximum of 200,000 CFA francs (about $400; £260) [R2.3].

On 28 April 2011, the Court of First Instance in Yaoundé, Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé was found guilty of homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and sentenced to three years imprisonment for sending an SMS, declaring “I’m very much in love w/u,” to a man who then showed it to the authorities [R2.2].

In February 2006, a court in Cameroon jailed two men for a year after they confessed to having gay sex [R2.1].

R1.3 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 380.51kb, MAY 11
R1.2 Human Rights Watch: Cameroon: Same-Sex Relations Bring Attacks, Arrests 04 NOV 10
R1.1 IGLHRC: A Call for Decriminalization at the Cameroon National Assembly 05 NOV 09
R2.8 GNN/MCV: Cameroon court convicts two men for gay sex 24 JUL 13
R2.7 PinkNews: 07 JAN 12
R2.6 The Guardian: Cameroon jails ‘gay’ man for texting ‘I’m in love with you’ to male friend 17 DEC 12
R2.5 GayStarNews: Two Cameroonians sentenced to five years in prison for ‘homosexual behavior’ 22 SEP 12
R2.4 BBC News Africa: Cameroon in ‘first’ lesbian charges 24 FEB 12
R2.3 BBC News Africa: Cameroon jails men over gay sex 24 NOV 11
R2.2 MambaGirl: New Efforts to Free Jailed Gay Man 14 SEP 12
R2.1 Herald Sun: Two Jailed For Gay Sex 28 FEB 06
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 24 October 2012, the Human Rights Watch called on the authorities in Cameroon to protect Michel Togue and Alice Nkom, two lawyers who have been on the receiving end of death threats because of their LGBT advocacy work [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews: Human Rights Watch: Cameroon must protect lawyers from anti-gay threats 26 OCT 12