Cameroon university blocks career of LGBTI activist

Officials at a Cameroon university have blocked a student’s academic career because he is an LGBTI rights activist.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Des étudiants dans une classe à l'L'Université de Yaoundé II. (Photo de Wikipedia)
Students in a large class at the University of Yaoundé II (Photo courtesy of WIkipedia)

By Steeves Winner

Kundy (a pseudonym) is one of the most experienced LGBTI activists in Cameroon. At age 30+, he has had an impressive amount of experience protecting and advocating for LGBTI people in the country.

He has spearheaded projects and surveys about the situation of LGBTI people in Cameroon and has represented the LGBTI community at regional conferences and at the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission africaine des droits de l’Homme et des Peuples). He has repeatedly advocated for improved living conditions for vulnerable sexual minorities.

Yet Kundy has seen his post-graduate legal studies at the University of Yaoundé II become a contentious issue. In 2015,  his planned topic for a master’s thesis there was rejected.  The subject was going to be “The implementation of preventive social actions against the abuse of LGBTI people in Cameroon: The case of Eric Ohena Lembembe.”

He had to change that. In its place, he ended up writing about Cameroon’s counter-terrorism law.

L'entrée à l'Université de Yaoundé II (Photo de Wikipedia)
The entrance to the University of Yaoundé II (Photo courtesy of WIkipedia)

Academic leaders told him to stop his LGBTI advocacy work, but he did not.

In January 2016, Kundy submitted his application to begin work toward a PhD focusing on ‘‘The issues of criminology in the face of increasing assaults on human rights in the world. The particular case of the abuse against LGBTI people.”

The university never responded to that application, although he made inquiries about it several times over a three-year period.

When he finally met with his academic adviser to find out what was going on, Kundy was told that the university does not promote homosexuality.

Kundy said:

‘‘No action was ever taken on my application. For the third year in a row, I find myself stuck while my academic colleagues have already made progress in their research.

“I even tried to change universities — I applied to Dschang, N’Gaoundéré, Douala and Maroua. Each rejected me without giving any reason. My view is that academic leaders from Yaoundé II sent out messages to their colleagues to block me from enrolling at any other universities.”

Kundy still hopes to find a university — probably in a country where homosexuality is not against the law — where he could finally start working on his PhD dissertation.

If you have suggestions for how you could help Kundy achieve this goal, please contact Steeves Winner.

 

Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at [email protected]

Article edited by Bruno Agar, Ph.D., member of the African Human Rights Media Network and lecturer at the University of Paris-Saclay Evry-Val-d’Essonne. His professional focus is on contemporary media issues, especially in the African context.

Source: Rights Africa

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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