MINAT boss bans planned confab on homosexuality rights.

The Minister of Territorial Administration, Atanga Nji Paul, has banned the planned holding of a conference-debate on homosexuality rights in the nation’s political capital, Yaounde.

The firm instruction of the firebrand Interior Minister is contained in a correspondence he addressed to the Governor of the Centre Region, Naseri Paul Bea. 

In the letter dated June 20, a copy of which The Guardian Post stumbled on, Atanga Nji made it categorically clear that “it is not possible to grant any authorisation” in connection with homosexuality in the country. 

Atanga Nji’s outing follows a correspondence the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, had addressed to him Monday June 19, indicating the planned visit to Cameroon by a French Ambassador for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender plus, LGBT+ people, Jean-Marc Berthon.

The anticipated visit of the French LGBT+ rights Ambassador was expected to run from June 27 to July 1. 

Minister Atanga Nji, through his correspondence to the Centre Region Governor, indicated that the French LGBT+ Ambassador, as per information from the Minister of External Relations, plans to carry out several activities, including the staging of performances and debates on sexual orientation and sexual identity at the French Institute of Cameroon, IFC, in Yaounde. 

The MINAT boss noted that public meetings and events in the country are subject to prior authoriusation by the administrative authority, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force. He warned that any meeting related to the purpose of the visit of the French LGBT+ Ambassador should not be given any authorisation. 

“With regard to the conference-debate theme, it is in total contradiction with the legislation on the subject, in particular the relevant provisions of Article 347-1 of Law N°2016/O07 of July 12, 2016, of the Penal Code. While recognising that Ambassador Jean-Marc Berthon can stay in Cameroon at any time, it is not possible to grant him any authorisation in connection with the purpose that motivated his trip,” he stated firmly. 

The decision of the MINAT boss to order a ban on the holding of any confab on homosexuality, comes days after the Minister of External Relations, Mbella Mbella, had in a similar manner reminded French officials that the practice is prohibited in the country. 

“These activities have not been approved by the Ministry of External Relations,” Mbella Mbella had warned, while stressing that a verbal message had been addressed to the French Ambassador in Cameroon, Thierry Marchand, to express government's reservations about its holding.

“It is worth recalling that Yaounde'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 had warned. 

Mbella Mbella had reiterated that 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. 

He had called on the Territorial Administration boss, to deploy appropriate measures to ensure that Cameroon’s position on the taboo subject is respected. 

A letter from the French Embassy addressed to the MINREX boss, which copy The Guardian Post obtained, had indicated that the French LGBT+ rights ambassador, was expected to arrive at the Yaounde Nsimalen Airport on June 27, on board Air France flight AF775. 

The French Embassy, in the letter dated June 5, had 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.

 

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