Nkom, Alice

Lawyer and Activist, Cameroon Recipient of the 2014 Amnesty International Award

Alice Nkom (born 1945 in Poutkak, Cameroon; married, two children) studied law in Toulouse. Active as a lawyer in Douala for forty years. At present attached to the prominent firm VABNI (lawyers Viazzi, Aubriet, Battu, Nkom, Ipouck). Attracted international attention by her courageous stance on a wide array of topics (in Febr. 2008 she was the leading lawyer defending young victims of severe police violence after large scale demonstrations; Since 2011 she is the lawyer of two formers prominent leaders in Cameroon now facing charge of corruption ). However, she became especially well-known for taking up the defense of people accused of homosexual acts. Lately homosexuality became a major issue in many African countries. Cameroon stands out for the severity with which the judicial apparatus – police and courts – persecute 'homosexuals.' Maître Nkom showed remarkable courage – also against heavy social censure – in taking up the case of these defendants. In 2003 she founded ADEFHO (Association pour la défense de l'homosexualité) that offers legal, material and financial assistance to people prosecuted on homosexuality charges. Since 2003 she defended more than 35 cases of people accused of homosexual acts – sometimes with at least some success. Thus she has become a rare point of support for an increasing number of people in Cameroon who are in distress because of accusations of homosexuality. She sets an example for lawyers in many other countries where persecution of homosexuals is a flagrant breach of Human Rights. She was the recipient of the Human Rights Award from the German section of Amnesty International in March 2014.