Posts Tagged 'Alice Nkom'

Cameroon ‘gay sex’ men acquitted

From BBC News

An appeal court in Cameroon has acquitted two men jailed in 2011 for homosexual acts, their lawyer has said.

Alice Nkom said she was pleased with the decision because the judge who convicted them was influenced by “stereotypes”.

He had stated “the way the men dressed… spoke and the fact that they drank Bailey’s Irish Cream proved they were gay”, Ms Nkom said.

Homosexual acts are illegal in the central African nation.

In November 2011, a court sentenced the two men to five years in prison after police arrested them for allegedly having oral sex in a car in the capital, Yaounde.

They denied the charge.

The Court of Appeals overturned their conviction on Monday, saying they were not guilty, Ms Nkom said.

International gay rights campaign group All Out said it welcomed the ruling.

“This case demonstrates that when courts rely on law and fairness instead of bias and stereotypes, justice is possible,” said Andre Banks, the group’s executive director.

“And while we celebrate…. we renew the call for President Paul Biya to release all other prisoners who have been prosecuted for allegedly being gay or lesbian under Cameroon’s unfair anti-gay law.”

Last month, the Court of Appeals upheld the sentencing to five years in prison of another Cameroonian, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, under anti-gay legislation.

Related Article: Court Overturns 5-year Sentence for Gay-Sex in Cameroon

A Lone Activist Crusades for Change in Cameroon

Image: The Advocate

Re-Post from the The Advocate
By Andrew Harmon

Civil rights attorney Alice Nkom is in an isolated fight for the west central African nation’s vulnerable gay community.

Alice Nkom is accustomed to polarized public opinion about her civil rights work on behalf of Cameroon’s marginalized LGBT community. The defense attorney is highly praised by international human rights groups yet vociferously denounced by many in her own country. She ignores the latter with aplomb as she visits dilapidated prisons where her clients face bleak prospects.

Nkom is one of only a few lawyers in the west central African nation of 19 million people bold enough to represent those arrested and imprisoned on charges of same-sex sexual conduct, which can carry jail sentences of up to five years for both men and women. She describes their treatment in prison as inhuman, horrid, violent. “I must help them live,” Nkom, 66, says in a recent phone interview from the capital city of Yaoundé. “I must give them the strength to say, ‘Yes, I am this way.’ And I want to help people understand that being gay is OK.” Continue Reading

U.S. Co-Sponsors High-Level Panel on LGBT Rights at United Nations in Geneva

Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer and High Commissioner Pillay engage in High Level Panel on LGBT Rights

Repost from the United State Mission to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva (http://geneva.usmission.gov/)

Discussion focuses on Ending Violence and Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons

Photo Gallery

The United States is pleased to have been a co-sponsor of the September 17, 2010 panel discussion “Ending Violence and Criminal Sanctions on the Basis of Sexual Orientation” at the United Nations Office in Geneva during the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The panel brought U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, and human rights defenders from three regions: Alice Nkom, a lawyer and activist from Cameroon, David Clarke, from the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Guyana and Sunita Kujur, from Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action, India.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a written message appealing for an end to the criminalization of people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Read the full story here


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