Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cameroon LGBT activist, Eric Ohensa Lembembe, tortured, killed in Yaoundé

Also: Evangelicals pour millions into antigay African churches and missions;
Video: Born This Way documents fierce oppression of underground LGBT community in Cameroon

From Human Rights Watch: 
Eric Ohena Lembembe, an activist and journalist  was found dead at his home in Yaoundé on the evening of July 15. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron. Lembembe was an outspoken activist who defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, and the executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS).
      ...Lembembe’s killing follows several attacks on the offices of human rights defenders, including those working for equal rights for LGBTI people. On June 26, 2013, unidentified assailants burned down the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroun, which provides HIV services to LGBTI people. A few days earlier on June 16, the Yaoundé office of human rights lawyer Michel Togué, who represents clients charged with same-sex conduct, was burgled, and his legal files and laptop stolen. Both Togué and Alice Nkom, another lawyer who represents LGBTI clients, have received repeated death threats by email and SMS, including threats to kill their children. Although activists have reported all of these incidents, the Cameroonian authorities have not apprehended a single suspect.
      “We don’t know who killed Eric Lembembe, or why he was killed, but one thing is clear: the Cameroonian authorities’ utter failure to stem homophobic violence sends the message that these attacks can be carried out with impunity,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The police should not rest until the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. President Biya should break his silence on the wave of homophobic violence in Cameroon and publicly condemn this brutal attack.”

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