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Cameroon: Attacks hit new group for LBTQ women

Two homophobic attacks have injured leaders of the new LBTQ advocacy group Women in Front Cameroon.


This is a translation of a June 13 press release from the organization:

Homophobic attacks on two lesbian activists in Cameroon

Logo of Women in Front Cameroon
Logo of Women in Front Cameroon

Renée and Soltera are two leaders of the association Women in Front Cameroon, which works for sexual and reproductive health and lesbian, bisexual, trans * and queer human rights in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Renée is the association’s president; Soltera is its administrator. They are committed activists who have been working on behalf of LGBTQ Cameroonians since 2012.

To response to the needs of lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer women and girls, in 2014 they created an informal organization to work specifically for the LBTQ women and girls. In May 2018, the association was legally organized as Women in Front Cameroon (WIFC).

The facts:

For more than a year, Renée and Soltera have been facing insults, intimidation and death threats from the son of their deceased landlord, who wants to evict them from their home on the grounds of their sexual orientation. When they refused to leave, he savagely assaulted them at home and beat them with a thick board. He ignorantly declared that, as lesbians, they must die because they are witches.

After his crime, the man escaped, carrying with him the murder weapon and leaving the victims in terrible suffering, including various bruises, a broken arm and a broken hand.

The attacker returned at night three days later with accomplices who were armed with knives and iron bars. Their goal was to “finish off the witches.” They chased Renée and Soltera through the neighborhood. Had it not been for the intervention of a few neighbors, they would surely have been stabbed or even killed.

Renée and Soltera received emergency medical services for their injuries, as well as psychological counseling. They also started legal proceedings with the help of a lawyer.

The current situation:

Currently, their attacker and one of his accomplices are incarcerated. Unfortunately, his other accomplices are still at liberty and the victims continue to live in fear because the death threats.

They have received financial assistance toward their medical care from the LGBTQ association where they work and from some WIFC members.

They still need money to pay for relocation outside the neighborhood for security reasons, continuing medical and psychological help, lawyer’s fees and transportation related to the ongoing investigation.

Today, they do not know where to go. They are barricaded in their home, fearing for their lives because the attackers threatened to kill them and inflict terrible suffering.

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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 info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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