CAMEROON, January 21, 2011 (—Government officials and citizen organizations in the African nation of Cameroon are denouncing a decision by the European Union to send over 300,000 euros to three local organizations that work against the nation’s anti-sodomy laws.

Homosexual sodomy is illegal in Cameroon and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

On January 13, the Cameroonian Minister of Exterior Relations, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, met with the European Union representative, Raoul Mateus Paula, to express the “the disapproval of the government [to this] financing.” 

“The people of Cameroon are not ready, nor disposed to go in the direction of the development of these practices in their territory,” Ayissi told the Cameroon Tribune.

Numerous student and youth organizations are also raising their voices against the decision, calling it an attack on the nation’s sovereignty. They are demanding that the money be prevented from reaching groups promoting the unhealthy practice and are calling for protests against the European Union.

“The Cameroonian authorities should intercept these illegal subsidies that in fact constitute a grave meddling in the sovereignty of Cameroon,” wrote Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, spokesman for the organization “Cameroonian Youth”.  I call on the Assembly of Cameroonian Youth to lead a campaign at the beginning of the school year for the sensitization against the gangrene of homosexuality in the secondary schools and high schools,” he added.

In recent years, Cameroon has also come under attack from the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee, which has pressured the nation to legalize sodomy, although human rights agreements do not recognize the practice as a “right”.

The nation has also been under pressure from UN officials to decriminalize abortion.  When scolded by a UN committee in 2009 for the country’s laws prohibiting the killing of unborn children, the Cameroon government shot back with a response denouncing the tendency to elevate abortion, which it called “murder”, “to the rank of a right and dignity.”


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