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Cameroon: Foes of anti-LGBTI bias organize under the banner One Advocacy Africa

Cameroon: Foes of anti-LGBTI bias organize under the banner One Advocacy Africa

Its leader’s innovative program fights anti-LGBTI bias by linking activists and financing experts.


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Jean Jacques Dissoke with two participants at a recent Chez Dissoke program.
Jean Jacques Dissoke with two participants at a recent Welcome to Dissoke’s Place program.

By Steeves Winner

A new advocacy organization in Cameroon is taking aim at anti-LGBTI violence and anti-LGBTI discrimination.

One Advocacy Africa has been working for the past two months, making plans for reducing homophobic violence and changing policies and laws through its advocacy strategy.

It is led by Jean Jacques Dissoke, the former advocacy manager at the LGBTI organization Alternatives Cameroon.

He is the force behind the programs known as Welcome to Dissoke’s Place (“Bienvenue chez Dissoke”), in which civil society organizations learn from technical and financial partners by meeting with them directly.

Dissoke said that One Advocacy Africa will collaborate with Cameroon’s existing human rights organizations, including the 34 LGBTI associations that are members of the Unity Platform, which tracks human rights abuses and implements risk-management and awareness-raising strategies.

The new organization will build on the Unity Platform’s field data, its national anti-LGBTI violence report and other reports, Dissoke said.

One Advocacy Africa will work to persuade the authorities to repress anti-LGBTI  violence and improve the confidentiality of the status of people living with HIV, he said.  Other goals of One Advocacy Africa are improved access to PrEP, proctology care and mental health, as well as work to improve LGBTI acceptance in areas such as education, culture, sport, tradition, religion, research and communication.

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Kenyan member of parliament Peter Kaluma keeps pushing for anti-LGBTQ action. (Photo courtesy of The Star)

The organization is currently developing its specific action plan.

Human rights activist Kedy (a pseudonym for her safety) said of One Advocacy Africa, “We see this approach as being beneficial in the context of strengthening the capacities of organizations in advocacy and other work in synergy. Human rights are interdependent and must evolve in complementarity. However, it would be important not to focus exclusively on the issues of LGBTI people but to work in a much broader sense of key [most at-risk] populations.”

Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at steeves.w@yahoo.com.

 

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