News / Africa

    Cameroon Urged to Assure Protection Following Death of Gay Activist

    The Cameroon Association for the Defense of Homosexuality and lawyers defending gay rights are calling on Cameroon's government to assure them of their protection after a gay rights activist and journalist, Eric Ohena Lembembe, was found dead in his home. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Lembembe was tortured and killed. Many gay people said it is becoming impossible for them to have freedom in Cameroon.  

    The  body of Eric Ohena Lembembe is at the Yaounde mortuary. The gay activist was found dead last Monday on his bed at his home.  His partner, Frederick Mveng, told VOA that he thinks Lembembe was killed three days before the body was discovered.

    He said they tried to call Lembembe's phone number on Saturday morning, after last seeing him Friday night, but there was no answer and they decided to look for him at his home.  He said when they arrived, his door was locked with a padlock from the outside. Mvveng said he looked through the window and saw the body.

    Human Rights Watch, in a statement, calls the death a murder. An HRW official said authorities were investigating and taking statements.

    Nkom Alice, a 65-year-old woman who has been a very prominent gay lawyer in Cameroon,  told VOA that she has been terrified over the death of Lembembe, whom she calls her son. "I feel shocked. I am really traumatized by this terrified news about the assassination of my son Eric," she said.

    This year, a report from Human Rights Watch stated that most people who have been arrested for suspected homosexual relations in Cameroon suffer what HRW calls " grave human rights violations."

    Nkom Alice said activists have complained, but in vain. "We are not free in our country.  We are not in a state of law.  We are afraid because we are not backed by our state and the authorities in our state which is not normal, which is against all engagements to protect people here," Alice stated.

    Activists charge the authorities with abuses including torture, forced confessions, denial of access to legal counsel, and discriminatory treatment by law enforcement and judicial officials.

    Joseph Panje, a legal practitioner in Cameroon, was asked about the alleged government persecution of gays. "For them to live in peace, they should go to jurisdictions and countries where those things are allowed," he responded.

    Churches have also been preaching against intimate same-sex relations in Cameroon.

    Pastor Paul Ngongang of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon said church officials don't  support any form of torture, but they will never accept homosexual practices because he said they are demonic. "God was not a fool to say for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to the wife and the two shall become one flesh," he said.

    The death of the gay activist was reported barely two weeks after the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, visited Cameroon and raised concerns over the criminalization of homosexuality.

    Gay sex is punishable by up to five years in prison in Cameroon.  Gay activists have been asking the government to protect them by doing away with such laws which they say disrespect their rights.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    Women Voters Look Past Gender in Assessing Clinton

    She's the first female presidential nominee, but party identification, other factors outweigh gender

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora