Vandalism of another LGBT center in Cameroon

Vandals broke into the offices of Cameroonian advocates for LGBT women’s rights earlier this month — the latest in a series of apparently homophobic attacks.

In mid-July, vandals stole documents and set a fire in the offices of the Association for the Advancement of Women in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Many homophobic people in Cameroon believe that LGBTI community centers aren’t merely meeting places for LGBTI people, but are used to promote homosexuality. Same-sex sexual relations are against the law in Cameroon.

The latest victim of this mistaken belief is the Association for the Advancement of Women (AVAF), an organization in Yaoundé, Cameroon, that defends lesbians’ rights.

AVAF reported that “on the night of July 11 to 12, 2021 (Sunday to Monday), unidentified individuals broke into the premises by smashing [into] the office of the Administrative and Financial Director.”

Logo of the Association for the Advancement of Women (AVAF) in Cameroon.

The vandals set a fire in that office and burned financial and activity reports. Various documents were stolen along with financial securities of as-yet unknown value.

AVAF staff and community members are worried because private contact information and perhaps compromising documents have been taken. They fear that their identity will be published.

AVAF filed a complaint with Yaoundé city police and to a court officer but no suspects have yet yet been identified. Investigations are ongoing, but probes of previous attacks on LGBTI people and organizations have gone nowhere.

Those have included vandalism of the offices of Alternatives-Cameroon a few months ago and three incidents in 2019 targeting the Young Solidarity Association in Garoua, Lady’s Cooperation in Yaoundé and the Cameroonian Association for the Defense of Vulnerable People (Acodevo) in Kribi.

Written by Courtney Stans

Courtney Stans is the pseudonym for a Cameroonian human rights defender whose name is withheld for her protection. She fills the role of reporter covering LGBTI issues in Cameroon, where our previous reporter, Eric Ohena Lembembe, was murdered in July 2013. Contact her by email via [email protected]

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