Planned visit of French LGBT+ Ambassador: External Relations Minister washes hands off, warns homosexuality illegal in Cameroon.
In a strongly-worded correspondence addressed to his peer of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, Minister Mbella Mbella, in typical Pontius Pilate manner, washed his hands off the planned visit to Cameroon by a French Ambassador for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender plus, LGBT+ people, Jean-Marc Berthon.
According to the correspondence, dated Monday June 19, the visit of the French official has been programmed from June 27 to July 1, 2023. Going by the official mail, the anticipated visit was made known in another letter addressed to him by the French Embassy in Yaounde.
During the five-day sojourn of the French LGBT+ rights ambassador, several activities, including the stage performances and debates on sexual orientation and sexual identity, have been scheduled to take place in Yaounde!
“To mark the occasion, a conference-debate on the definitions of gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity, followed by a performance, will be held at the French Institute of Cameroon, IFC, in Yaounde on 30 June 2023, at 6pm,” Mbella Mbella told his MINAT colleague in the dispatch.
However, the External Relations boss said he has denied granting his approval to the arrangement. “These activities have not been approved by the Ministry of External Relations,” the Minister stated, while stressing that a verbal message has been addressed to the French Ambassador in Cameroon, Thierry Marchand, to express government's reservations about its holding.
“It is worth recalling that the Cameroonian Government's position on the definitions of gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity in Cameroon is clear and devoid of any debate. It is therefore not possible to speak of LGBT+ people in Cameroon,” Mbella Mbella warned.
According to Minister Mbella Mbella, homosexual practices are qualified as a Common Law crime punishable by the Cameroon Penal Code in Article 347-1 of Law N°2016/007 of July 12, 2016. Thus, the Territorial Administration boss, has been called upon to deploy appropriate measures to ensure that Cameroon’s position on the taboo subject is respected.
Meanwhile, according to a letter from the French Embassy addressed to the MINREX boss, which this reporter stumbled on, the French LGBT+ rights ambassador, is expected to arrive at the Yaounde Nsimalen Airport on June 27, on board Air France flight AF775. Within the framework of the imminent visit, an audience with the Minister of External Relations, on June 29, had also been requested.
The French Embassy, in the letter dated June 5, explained that the French official’s visit to Cameroon will be an opportunity for the Ambassador for the rights of LGBT+ people to examine the situation of LGBT+ people in Cameroon, the legal provisions established to regulate their rights and measures taken to combat the prevalence of HIV in the country.