Cameroon activist tortured, killed; the nation must respond

Human Rights Watch issued this press release today about the murder of LGBT activist and reporter Eric Ohena Lembembe:

Cameroon: LGBTI Rights Activist Found Dead, Tortured
Authorities Should Investigate Death, Condemn Violence

Eric Lembembe (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Eric Lembembe (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

(Nairobi, July 16, 2013) – Cameroonian authorities should immediately conduct an effective and thorough investigation into the torture and killing of Eric Ohena Lembembe, an activist and journalist who was found dead at his home in Yaoundé on the evening of July 15, Human Rights Watch said today. Lembembe, executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), was an outspoken activist who defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Lembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. 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 one of Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists. On behalf of CAMFAIDS, he collaborated closely with Human Rights Watch and two other Cameroonian organizations, Alternatives-Cameroun and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO), in researching and launching a March 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct. He also participated in drafting a submission for Cameroon’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2013 at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Lembembe was also a contributor to the blog “Erasing 76 Crimes” and authored several chapters in a book on LGBTI rights around the world, From Wrongs to Gay Rights. His organization assiduously documented arrests, violence, and blackmail against LGBTI people in Cameroon.

Eric Lembembe (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Eric Lembembe (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

“Eric was an inspiring activist whose work was deeply appreciated by human rights activists in Cameroon and around the world,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Advocating for equal rights in Cameroon, where LGBTI people face severe discrimination and violence, takes tremendous courage. Eric’s activism paved the way for a society based on equality and nondiscrimination.”

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,” Ghoshal said. “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.”

Related articles

39 thoughts on “Cameroon activist tortured, killed; the nation must respond

  1. Hello,
    The Office of Supervisor Scott Wiener in San Francisco, CA located at City Hall would like to honor Eric Ohena Lembembe by offering a memoriam in the board of supervisor’s meeting today. However, as part of the memoriam, we would like to send a letter to any kin of Lembembe notifying them of this honor.
    Please contact our office if any information can be given or if we can pass on our information to another party.

    Office Phone: 415.554.6968
    Email: wienerstaff@sfgov.org
    Personal Website of the Supervisor: http://scottwiener.com
    Board of Supervisor’s Webpage: http://www.sfbos.org

    Thank you so much.

    Lindsey Burkart-Lima
    Office Volunteer


  2. Pingback: U.S. on Lembembe murder: Prosecute those responsible | 76 CRIMES

  3. Pingback: Beating death of LGBT activist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon | 76 CRIMES

  4. Pingback: Cameroon Activist Killed Following Months Of Violent Anti-Gay Attacks – pride source.com | Everyday News Update

  5. Pingback: Prominent LGBT rights activist Lembembe murdered in Cameroon | PCS Independent Left

  6. Pingback: You can help pay for proper funeral for slain LGBT activist | 76 CRIMES

  7. Pingback: Cameroon groups: It’s too dangerous to keep fighting AIDS | 76 CRIMES

  8. Pingback: Cameroon: Two more homosexuality convictions | 76 CRIMES

  9. Pingback: Autopsy delays slain activist’s funeral; donations still needed | 76 CRIMES

  10. Pingback: Cameroon mob murders gay man; police jail his lover | 76 CRIMES

  11. Pingback: 3 LGBT activists arrested as Cameroon harassment continues | 76 CRIMES

  12. Pingback: Cameroon: ‘Abusive detention’ of friends of Eric Lembembe | 76 CRIMES

  13. Pingback: Cameroon: LGBT activists in custody; harassment continues | 76 CRIMES

  14. Pingback: Cameroon activist released by police probing LGBT murder | 76 CRIMES

  15. Pingback: Demand to Cameroon to bring lynch mob to justice | 76 CRIMES

  16. Pingback: Dutch protest of Lembembe murder planned for Aug. 2 | 76 CRIMES

  17. Pingback: Cameroonian Activist Eric Lembembe Murdered: St. Paul’s Foundation Respond | LGBT-FAN

  18. Pingback: Hundreds mourn murdered LGBT activist in Cameroon | 76 CRIMES

  19. Pingback: Cameroon: Final adieu to humorous activist, now murdered | 76 CRIMES

  20. Pingback: How Cameroon locals, others paid for slain LGBT leader’s funeral | 76 CRIMES

  21. Pingback: More mob violence in Cameroon; anti-gay attacks continue | 76 CRIMES

  22. Pingback: Vigilante brigade hunts Cameroon gays, says anti-gay activist | 76 CRIMES

  23. Pingback: Abandoned: Plans to keep AIDS fighters safe in Cameroon | 76 CRIMES

  24. Pingback: Cameroon: Christmas attack on rights/AIDS office | 76 CRIMES

  25. Pingback: Cameroon goal: Reopen vandalized LGBT rights office | 76 CRIMES

  26. Pingback: Cameroon mob kills gay man; police arrest his friends | 76 CRIMES

  27. Pingback: Cameroon: $325 frees 2 gay prisoners; more is needed | 76 CRIMES

  28. Pingback: Cameroon president seeks end to arrests for being LGBTI | 76 CRIMES

  29. Pingback: Cameroon president seeks end to arrests for being LGBTI | MasterAdrian's Weblog

  30. Pingback: Bribe frees 2 from jail, not from Cameroon neighbors | 76 CRIMES

  31. Pingback: Activists demand new probe of Eric Lembembe murder | 76 CRIMES

  32. Pingback: Cameroon: Slain activist mourned; the fight continues | 76 CRIMES

  33. Pingback: Gay life in Cameroon: Battered, with no legal recourse | 76 CRIMES

  34. Pingback: Cameroon: Portrait of the activist as a young man, and now | 76 CRIMES

  35. Pingback: Cameroun: À la recherche des origines d’un militant LGBT | 76 CRIMES

  36. Pingback: Cameroun: À la recherche des origines d’un militant LGBT | 76 Crimes en français

  37. Pingback: Cameroon: 290 march and pray for human rights | 76 CRIMES

  38. Pingback: Cameroon: Gay prisoner’s attorney defies death threats | 76 CRIMES

  39. Pingback: Anti-LGBTI murders, but optimism too? Q&A with a reporter | 76 CRIMES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s