Support for imperiled LGBTI activists in Cameroon

Logo of Camfaids
Logo of Camfaids
Humanity First logo
Logo of Humanity First

The Cameroonian LGBTI rights group Camfaids today vowed its support for  the threatened LGBTI activists of Humanity First Cameroon and urged action to put an end of all violence against human rights defenders.

This is the statement from Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for Aids), translated from French:

Representatives from LGBTI rights organizations in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and from Alternatives-Cameroon in Douala, Cameroon, gathered together [April 12] to respond to threats made against our colleagues at Humanity First Cameroon.

Those threats occurred because of Humanity First’s defense of one of its members who has been detained in a police station for days on ridiculous homosexuality-related charges.

Police officers claim that this type of organization — our type of organization — exists to pervert, divert, and lure the population into embracing the supposedly terrible practice of homosexuality.

But, if it’s true that defending a class of persons is a crime, why do the police not take on the lawyers who defend criminals as well as victims, murderers as well the slain, the bad as well as the good? Is that not the same as the work that we do?

Our meeting was a show of solidarity among the associations that deal with such issues in the present environment, where a semblance of calm could erode our vigilance. But now the situation is clear. Defenders of LGBT rights are no safer today than they were yesterday.

After the murder of Eric Lembembe [in 2013], defenders of LGBT rights in many cases were the targets of violence. Now the pressure is aimed directly at the LGBT rights organizations themselves. It is high time to unite and speak with one voice, not only to condemn the violence, but also to find and develop strategies for risk management.

Supporters gather on July 15, 2015, to prepare for a march protesting against violence targeting human rights defenders in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)
Supporters gather on July 15, 2015, to prepare for a march protesting against violence targeting human rights defenders in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

[Camfaids is organizing a Commemoration of the Fight to End Violence Against Human Rights Defenders, which is planned for July. A similar event was held last year.]

It is noteworthy that this year’s event might be different, given the many bans on public demonstrations that the state has issued. We believe that an appropriate strategy should be found, not to oppose the decisions of the state, but to let our voice be heard and understood.

We invite you all into a union of civil society activists seeking fairness and respect for human rights for all.

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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


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