Cameroon prepares for annual Human Rights Defender Day

This year, as in five years past, human rights activists in Cameroon have set aside July 15 as Human Rights Defender Day, a time to protest the violence and other violations they face in the course of their work.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

Activists in Cameroon gather to prepare for this year’s Human Rights Defender Day, scheduled for July 15. (Photo by Courtney Stans)

By Courtney Stans

Human rights defenders this year will again commemorate July 15, which will be the seventh anniversary of the murder of journalist and activist Eric Ohena Lembembe.

He was a leader of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (Camfaids) and a writer for the Erasing 76 Crimes blog.

His murder, barely investigated and never solved by Cameroon police, remains a painful memory for Cameroonian defenders of LGBTI people.

July 2015 - CAMFAIDS organized this march supporting human rights defenders in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of CAMFAIDS)

July 2015 – CAMFAIDS organized the first march supporting human rights defenders in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of CAMFAIDS)

Human Rights Defender Day was celebrated for the first time in 2015 by Camfaids. Since then, it has become an annual tradition in Yaoundé.  RECAP +, a network of organizations of people living with HIV, sponsored it in 2019. Defenders Without Borders is its sponsor this year.

This year’s theme will be: “The human rights defender faced with new COVID-19 challenges”.  A combination of digital activities and socially distanced in-person events will run from July 13 to 15.

July 2016 – March in support of human rights defenders in Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

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 Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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