News / Africa

Cameroon Urged to Assure Protection Following Death of Gay Activist

TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid