Cameroon: Human Rights Defenders Day proposed for July 15th

We publish the call to associations and peers in the struggle for human rights and in particular for the rights of LGBTI people, by the CAMFAIDS team in Cameroon inviting all human rights defenders to commemorate July 15th as Human Rights Defenders Day.

Dear colleagues and peers in the struggle for human rights and in particular for the human rights of LGBTI persons:

Stéphane Tchakam
The eternal smile: Stéphane Tchakam

It is in commemoration of the violence directed towards human rights defenders in general and of LGBTI human rights defenders in particular that we,  in  Cameroon, remember:

  • The threats and violence against human rights defender and journalist Stéphane Tchakam of Alternative Cameroon in 2012

  • The purely homophobic arson committed against the  Alternative Cameroon Centre in 2013

  • The burglary at the offices of the law firm of Me Michel Togue in 2013,

  • The REDHAC burglary in 2014,

  • The CAMFAIDS burglary in 2014,

  • The Humanity First burglary in 2015,

  • Two lawyers who support LGBT people in Cameroon (from left to right): Michel Togué, Alice Nkom (Photo courtesy of Saskia Ditisheim)
    Two lawyers who support LGBT people in Cameroon (from left to right): Michel Togué, Alice Nkom (Photo courtesy of Saskia Ditisheim)

    The list is far from exhaustive, as yet have we yet to address the many death threats suffered daily lawyers Alice Nkom and Michel Togue, our brave and valiant human rights defenders; with Me Togue, a man so dedicated to the cause that it led to the exile of his family; and the many other associations who are part this list, including Affirmative Action and others who will recognize who you are.

  • Eric O. Lembembe
    Eric Ohena Lembembe

    The ongoing violence, intensified by the tragedy of July 15, 2013, the day of irreparable harm marked by the assassination of human rights defender, journalist and former executive director of the CAMFAIDS, Eric Ohena Lembembe. 

From this perspective,  the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS) takes the initiative to draw the attention of all human rights defenders to the violence which touches us all in Cameroonian society and invites the observance of July 15th,  the date when activist Eric Ohena was murdered at his home.

In advance of the commemoration of the second anniversary of the assassination, we are initiating this call for a day to remember the struggles against violence fought by all human rights defenders.

Thus, jointly mobilized with a united voice, we issue this call to action to the political, judicial and religious authorities, journalists and to Cameroonian society as a whole on the violence perpetrated against us daily.

This is the ideal opportunity to proclaim the relevance of our struggles together with the dangers we incur in connection with our work to demand our right to the security to which we are all legitimately entitled.

We are casting a wide net with heart, and with the awareness that such an undertaking could have a significant impact, so that we, human rights defenders, might labour in an environment freed from the troubles mentioned earlier.  Thus, we cordially invite you to actively and widely participate in this action as part of this mobilization with preparatory meetings for July. 15th.

Questions and suggestions are welcomed on the initiation and organization of this day, “our day”.

The CAMFAIDS team.

Logo of Camfaids
Logo de Camfaids

Cameroonian Foundation forAIDS (CAMFAIDS)
Association camerounaise de défense des Droits de l’Homme
Et de lutte contre les IST et le VIH, Sida

[email protected]

Titi Garage, B.P : 1956, Yaoundé, Cameroun
Tel : + 237 22692256/ 696774763/691113351/6 75 35 38 35

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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