Violence against LGBTI people in Cameroon has risen sharply, fostered by harsh laws penalising same-sex relations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday. In a report, the rights monitor said a Cameroonian group called CAMFAIDS had recorded 32 assaults against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex) persons since the start of the year, a rise of 88 percent over the same period in 2021. Some of the beatings or maltreatment were meted out by police, the report said. The evidence is supported by documents, medical records, videos and photographs, including interviews HRW conducted last month with 12 people, six of whom had been assaulted by mobs, the group said. Four of the victims were arrested and detained after their ordeal, it said. Same-sex relations are taboo or repressed in many parts of Africa, and some countries have laws that carry potential jail terms — in Cameroon’s case, up to five years. The law “has created a climate that allows both other Cameroonians and security forces to abuse and assault LGBTI people without consequence,” said HRW’s senior Central Africa researcher, Ilaria Allegrozzi. “The authorities should take urgent action to revoke this discriminatory law and to ensure that the human rights of all Cameroonians, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, are upheld.” The group said it had passed on its findings to several ministers and security officials, but not received a reply.