Cameroon landlords evict 2 groups serving LGBTI

By Denis LeBlanc

Two Cameroonian associations serving LGBTI people — Humanity First Cameroon and Colibri — have suddenly found themselves on the street, looking for new premises, victims of allegedly homophobic property owners.

Colibri, based in Bafoussam

Logo de Colibri
Logo of Colibri

Last week, the anti-AIDs group Colibri, located in Bafoussam, the capital of the Western Region of Cameroon, was devastated to learn that it was being evicted from the headquarters it had occupied since 2000. The cause was homophobia, according to an e-mail from Jean Jules Kamgue, president of Colibri.

Colibri (which means “hummingbird”) provides HIV/AIDS prevention programs to vulnerable populations as well as psychosocial counseling to HIV-positive people.

“We have been routed,” Kamgue said. “We do not know where we will go with our tons of documents and furniture. ”

Humanity First Cameroon, based in Yaoundé

Humanity First logo
Humanity First logo

On Sept. 2, the anti-AIDS group Humanity First Cameroon was ordered by its landlord to evacuate its headquarters immediately.  The offices also serve as a counseling center, focuses on human rights advocacy, health counseling, STI treatment and HIV/AIDS prevention.

The association has operated there for the past two years.  Humanity First said the eviction notice was the landlord’s response to the association’s request for repairs to the premises in order to eliminate leaks that were damaging equipment and threatening staff members’ health.

Humanity First said, “This notification confirmed the homophobic motivations of the owners of the premises, as shown by their willingness to hassle and evict a long-term tenant.”  The landlord refused even to put his name on a document along with the name of the association, Humanity First said.

The association said that the walls of the offices were damp, the water supply was unreliable and electricity bills were high.

Humanity First Cameroon issued a challenge to the Yaoundé community to help it weather this setback to continue  its fight against AIDS.

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 Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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