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ILGA Brussels - internship Christa Levko, ILGA Brussels - internship
anonymous contributorWritten anonymously. (French)

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Eric Lembembe Ohena
African organisations call upon the Cameroonian government, the media and religious leaders

in CAMEROON, 23/07/2013

"Gay people are and will forever be part of the human family. In Cameroon, they are ordinary people who did not chose to be who they are; they are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, and . No one deserves to die tortured. No one deserves to die. We all have the right to life, dignity, respect, and development."

PRESS RELEASE

Eric Lembembe Ohena's horribly mutilated body was discovered on July 15 in his room located in Tongolo neighborhood in Yaounde, by his colleagues and friends worried by his disappearance. He was last seen on Friday July 12 in the company of three men. Policemen and firefighters had to force themselves into the room to extract the corpse before taking it to the General
Hospital's mortuary.

This crime takes place in a general homophobic context of complicit silence from Cameroonian officials despite numerous incidents targeting individuals and organizations defending sexual minorities' rights. Religious leaders, the Catholic Church in particular, public condemn homosexuality and incite protests against the issue. A youth organization which aims at "making
faggots' neck", has decided to track them organizing so-called days against homosexuality. Certain media are happy to echo this homophobic discourse, thus entertaining ignorance and hatred among the Cameroonian population. In the meantime, the National AIDS Plan targets men who have sex with men, and recognizes their existence, and rights to health and life.

We, the organizations hereafter, strongly condemn the heinous and barbaric murder of the Cameroonian journalist and human rights defender Eric Lembembe Ohena, and call upon:

The President of the Republic of Cameroon

  • To take strong measures to stop this wave of hatred and to protect a minority of Cameroonian citizens that is persecuted, as provided by the Preamble of the Cameroonian Constitution.

The Parliament of Cameroon

  • To legislate on hate crimes in Cameroon, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To legislate on speech and other acts calling for hate in Cameroon, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Prosecutor and the Ministry Of Justice

  • To investigate, arrest and condemn the murders of Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To order the post-mortem analysis of Eric Lembembe Ohena's corpse.

To the National Commission on Human Rights and freedoms

  • To investigate the murder of the human rights defender Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To publicly condemn the murder of the human rights defender Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To publicly condemn hate crimes, speech and acts calling for hate, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To publicly condemn human rights violations on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cameroon.
  • To develop mechanisms for the protection of human rights defenders, including for those working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues in Cameroon.

To the National AIDS Committee and the Ministry Of Health

  • To publicly condemn the murder of the community health actor Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To publicly condemn hate crimes, speech and acts calling for hate, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To publicly condemn human rights violations on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cameroon.
  • To a working group that is specific to key populations to make sure that the Human Rights Strategy is effectively integrated in and implemented by the HIV riposte, and to address issues faced by service providers.

To religious leaders

  • To publicly condemn the murder of Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To publicly condemn hate crimes, speech and acts calling for hate, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To publicly condemn human rights violations on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cameroon.
  • To publicly admit that Eric Lembembe Ohena?s murder could be a consequence of a speech that stigmatizes and incites to hatred towards gay people in Cameroon.
  • To adopt a speech that does not stigmatize and calls for acceptation and love for all, without discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To consider accepting the invitation coming from the gay community to a constructive and appeased dialogue on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

To the media

  • To publicly condemn the murder of the journalist Eric Lembembe Ohena.
  • To publicly condemn hate crimes, speech and acts calling for hate, including hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To publicly condemn human rights violations on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cameroon.
  • To publicly admit that Eric Lembembe Ohena?s murder could be a consequence of a speech that stigmatizes and incites to hatred towards gay people in Cameroon.
  • To adopt a discourse that does not stigmatize, rather calls for respect of human rights for all, without discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To contribute to building a constructive and appeased societal dialogue on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gay people are and will forever be part of the human family. In Cameroon, they are ordinary people who did not chose to be who they are; they are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, and . No one deserves to die tortured. No one deserves to die. We all have the right to life, dignity, respect, and development.

We are more than ever determined to continue promoting and protecting human rights of all Cameroonian citizens, without any distinction of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, origin, religion, opinion or any other condition.

- ADEFHO

- Affirmative Action

- AIDS ACODEV CAMEROUN

- Alternatives Cameroun

- CAMFAIDS

- EVOLVE

- FISS-MST/SIDA

- Humanity First Cameroon

- Africagay contre le Sida

- AMSHER (African Men for Sexual Health Rights)

- QAYN (Queer Africa Youth Network)

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