Cameroon’s new association of activist women and their supporters has been busy in Cameroon and in Europe, seeking greater opportunities, improved health care, and basic human rights for lesbians and transgender women.
The organization AVAF (Association for the Promotion of Women) has been active in Cameroon, led by its local board of directors, all of them women. Meanwhile, the president of AVAF in France, a gay man, has been accepted to represent the group at an upcoming conference in Germany in order to improve AVAF’s visibility and to seek financial support for it.
International Women’s Day
In many countries, International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. This year, AVAF marked the day in partnership with the pro-LGBT rights, anti-Aids association Affirmative Action.
The two organizations organized a round table on the theme “Building Peace In The Heart Of Men And Women.” A total of 30 LGBT people attended the event.
Amnesty International visit
AVAF again worked with Affirmative Action on March 18 to welcome to Cameroon a visiting delegation of Amnesty International representatives from Germany.
During the meeting at Affirmative Action offices, the visitors and the hosts introduced themselves and discussed their advocacy, their visions, their missions and their field activities.
At the end of the visit, AVAF expressed its thanks to Affirmative Action and to Amnesty International representatives Anika Becher, Raphael Kreusch, Selmin Çalışkan, and Wiltraud Von Der Ruhr.
First Mile Conference
AVAF has been selected with other global LGBTI rights activists to participate in the First Mile Conference, scheduled for Berlin on June 11.
This event will be an opportunity for AVAF’s president, Raymond Bykoukous, to describe AVAF’s projects to a panel of activists and executives of non-profit organizations in order to build partnerships that the association needs.
Other activists scheduled to appear at the First Mile Conference include:
- Stana Iliev, program manager for diversity, feminism and gender equality at Bilitis Resource Centre Foundation in Bulgaria.
- Dastan Kasmamytov, an LGBTIQ activist from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
- Masen Davis, a transgender advocate from the United States, who formerly was executive director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco.
- Svetlana Zakharova, public relations manager of the Russian LGBT Network.
Bykouskous said of his role at the conference and in AVAF:
“I am an activist for the rights of homosexuals. My relationship with Cameroon and activists who work on issues of violations of the rights of homosexuals led me to guide my commitment to the cause of lesbians.
“Lesbians are missing from the advocacy on human rights of homosexuals in Cameroon. Moreover, they are not heard by the Cameroonian civil society and have no space to meet themselves or express on the issues related to their sexual orientation and gender.
“This thinking led to the creation of the AVAF.”
The advisory board inviting the activists includes:
- Boris Dittrich (Human Rights Watch)
- Katrin Hugendubel (ILGA Europe)
- Axel Hochrein (Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation)
- Sören Landmann (Campaign against Homophobia Germany)
- Alfonso Pantisano (Enough Is Enough! Open Your Mouth!)
- Stuart Cameron (First Mile Initiative)
- Klaus Müller (kmlink Consultancy, Salzburg Global LGBT Forum)
- Ise Bosch (Dreilinden gGmbH)
- Dan Christian Ghattas (OII Germany)
Related articles from this blog
- Cameroon: a new activist association for lesbians
- Cameroon lesbians freed after 9 months awaiting trial
- Imprisoned lesbians gain an advocate in Cameroon
- Cameroon sentence: 4 months for lesbian activity
- Cameroon: Two lesbians sentenced to nine months
- Shared plight of lesbian, straight women goes unheard?
- Lesbians remain invisible globally, even to other women