Homophobia is endemic in Cameroon where homosexuality is criminalised by article 347 bis of the Penal Code. Over the last few years there have been increased homophobic attitudes and human rights violations against LGBT persons. These are sometimes carried out by the general population and at other times by the public authorities, including the police. There is harassment of LGBT people (or those perceived as such) and of their families as well as of those assisting them, death threats, arbitrary arrests, imprisonments, unfair judgements, burglaries, an arson attack with loss of sensitive data, public calls for violence against LGBT people by religious leaders advertised by the media, torture and recently the murder, likely motivated by homophobia, of Eric Ohena Lembembe.
Eric Ohena Lembembe was found by fellow activists at his home, tortured and murdered on 15 July. At his funeral, on 3 August, hundreds of people gathered but his coffin was sealed by order of the government. There was widespread international condemnation of the murder Eric Ohena Lembembe.
During their stay in Geneva for the formal adoption of the UPR report of their country, LGBT activists from Cameroun wanted to honour the memory of their fellow colleague and friend Eric Ohena Lembembe, by sharing the situation of LGBT people in their country with local Swiss French speaking activists.
Patricia Curzi, ILGA, gave an overview of the situation and moderated the session.
Read the overview in French click HERE
The panel of human rights defenders was composed of:
F. M., de Alternatives Cameroun – Read his speech, in French, click HERE
M. E.,de Camfaids – Cameroun – Read his speech, in French, click HERE HERE
Saskia Ditisheim, d’Avocats sans Frontières, Switzerland.
General discussion and concluding remarks allowed people present to ask questions and demonstrate their solidarity. This event was an opportunity to raise awareness on the situation of LGBT people in Cameroon in front of an attentive audience of about 50 people. In addition the event was streamed live online and a further 40 people attended virtually, including colleagues in Cameroon.
Thank you to the team at Dialogai for hosting and supporting the event
At the Universal Periodic Review on Cameroon in May 2013, 15 governments took the floor on this matter, 14 of them made specific recommendations to protect human rights defenders and repeal the legislation that criminalises homosexuality. At the 24th Session of the UN Human Rights Council that took place on 20 September 2013 the UPR report of Cameroon was formally adopted. All recommendations based on sexual orientation and gender identity were rejected.
Read the interview of LGBT activists involved in the UPR of Cameroo, click HERE
Read and watch the NGO oral statement following the formal adoption of the UPR report from Cameroon, click HERE
Flyer of the event in the pdf document attached