Cameroon Human Rights and HIV organizations are deeply concerned about the of Government decision requesting the European Union to refrain from financing the work of Adefho, Cofenho, and Sidado. These are some organizations that assist gay people. In the presence of Raul Mateus Paula the Head of the EU delegation to Cameroon, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, Cameroon Minister of External Relations declared in Yaounde: “The people of Cameroon are neither ready nor willing to go towards the development of these (sexual) practices on their territory”.
This decision comes in a context where a joint report recently released by Alternatives-Cameroun and Adefho, in partnership with Human Rights Watch and IGLHRC provides irrefutable evidence of violations of citizens’ rights in Cameroon on the basis of their perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, when the report was presented last November to the country’s Prime Minister, H.E Philemon Yang, he said to be unaware of such violations and was deeply concerned about such a situation. He then promised to react after reading the report.
In addition, Cameroon has recently received a grant of several billion francs by the Global Fund to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. This grant will include funding to ensure access to prevention and reduction of discrimination among 14.240 men who have sex with men (MSM) in the entire country by 2015.
Here are some embarrassing issues: Will the Government accept funding from the Global Fund? If so, how will it ensure the protection of HIV activists working with MSM? How will the Government apply the guidelines of the UNAIDS in terms of universal access for MSM and transgender people, considering that these guidelines promote the abolition of discriminatory laws?
Cameroon Human Rights and HIV organizations are asking their Government to:
- Recognize that Cameroonians are victims of violations on the ground of their perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Reconsider its position on the funding by the European Union of the efforts of the civil society in the fight against discrimination and HIV among gay people;
- Protect Human Rights defenders and HIV activists working with gay people, and whose lives are no longer safe.
Cameroon must be politically consistent and do well to respect the commitments deliberately taken at international levels.
FISS MST/SIDA firstname.lastname@example.org
Humanity First Cameroon email@example.com
Republic of Cameroon.
January 17, 2011.