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Organizing opposition to African ‘Gay Hate Day’

RJC spokesman Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka
RJC spokesman Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka

The pro-LGBT group All Out (allout.org) is planning a protest against human rights violations in Cameroon.

It is timed to coincide with both a planned anti-homosexuality rally in Cameroon on Aug. 21 and the scheduled court appeal on Aug. 20 of a gay man who was sentenced to three years in prison in Cameroon for sending amorous text messages to a man.

The anti-gay protest, called “World Day Against Homosexuality” and sometimes “Gay Hate Day,” is planned by the Movement of Cameroonian Youth (Rassemblement de la Jeunesse Camerounaise, or RJC). which opposes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, citing the Bible.

All Out said it is working with Cameroonian activists to organize a joint declaration by African human rights leaders asking Cameroon President Paul Biya to denounce the event and ensure the safety and human rights of LGBT Cameroonians.

Paul Biya, president of Cameroon
Paul Biya, president of Cameroon

The planned declaration states:

By fueling homophobic sentiment across our continent, these extreme anti-gay movements are putting the lives of thousands of Cameroonians in serious danger.

We call on the President of Cameroon, Mr. Paul Biya, to take a stand for human rights and stop this anti-gay crackdown. President Biya must put an end to laws that make it illegal to be gay in Cameroon.

Among the victims of those Cameroonian laws is Roger Jean Claude Mbede, 33, of Cameroon has spent 16 months in prison for the crime of homosexuality. He is currently on medical release from prison, awaiting an appeal on Aug. 20.

Supporters of the anti-RJC declaration include the LGBT rights and anti-AIDS group Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS, or Camfaids.  The health and human rights organizations Humanity First Cameroon and Alternatives-Cameroun are also opposed to the Aug. 21 anti-gay protest.

This initiative follows a similar petition last year in opposition to anti-LGBT laws in Cameroon and in support of the work of human rights lawyer Alice Nkom of Cameroon. Nearly 75,000 people signed that petition.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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