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London: protesters rally at Cameroon High Commission - Demand action over Eric Lembembe murder in Cameroon - Rally urges Cameroon’s suspension from the Commonwealth Secretary General must publicly condemn homophobic witch-hunt

in CAMEROON, 24/07/2013

London – 24 July 2013 Protesters gathered outside the Cameroon High Commission in London on 23 July to demand action over the murder of LGBT and HIV activist Eric Lembembe.

  • See photos from the protest here: http://bit.ly/18AKdyG
  • Cameroonian gay activist Eric Lembembe was tortured and murdered in his own home. READ about Eric’s horrific murder: http://bbc.in/14WaouF

    The protest was organised by the African LGBTI organisation, Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

    Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Eugene Fomekong, who worked with Eric Lembembe and fled Cameroon fearing victimisation, outlined four demands to the Cameroon government:

    “We are urging an immediate investigation into the death of our fellow human rights activist, the prosecution of those responsible, the immediate release of all those in prison because they are LGBTI and for everyone in Cameroon to be able to exercise their full human rights.”

    Protest organiser Edwin Sesange, from the African LGBTI network, Out & Proud Diamond Group said:

    “We strongly condemn the brutal murder of Eric Lembembe. The government of Cameroon should be held to account. The British, US and other governments should stop their soft talk on the brutal murder of Eric Ohena Lembembe. They should issue a travel warning that Cameroon is high risk for LGBTI people.

    “The brutal murder of Eric Lembembe will not be the death of the struggle. We support calls for Cameroon to be suspended from the Commonwealth until it stops its homophobic persecution,” said Mr Sesange.

    Human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation attended the protest and said:

    “Eric was a courageous public champion of the rights of LGBT people and people with HIV. He was subjected to a particularly horrific, brutal attack. Many other LGBT people in Cameroon have been victims of violent threats and assaults. Several are in prison for consenting same-sex relations. Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was jailed for three years for sending a text message to another man saying ‘I love you.’ Such harsh punishments are barely believable.

    “Cameroon is one of the most homophobic countries in the world. The persecution of LGBT people is officially sanctioned by the government. President Paul Biya has failed to speak out against the killing of Eric Lembembe. He has queer blood on his hands.

    “Cameroon’s homophobic policies violate the equal treatment and non-discrimination clauses of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Cameroon has signed and pledged to uphold.

    “Cameroon should be suspended from the Commonwealth. Its anti-gay witch-hunt violates Commonwealth values and the Commonwealth Charter. The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, must end his silence and speak out publicly against homophobic persecution in Cameroon. President Paul Biya should also publicly condemn the killing and halt the state-sponsored victimisation of LGBT people,” said Mr Tatchell.

    TAKE ACTION

    Get angry and take action. Write or email the Cameroon President, Paul Biya, via the Cameroon High Commission in London: info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk. You can also phone the High Commission: 020 7727 0771 or fax them: 020 7792 9353

    Notes
    Cameroonian gay activist Eric Lembembe was brutally murdered, despite warnings from international organisations calling on the Cameroon government to investigate, denounce, and prosecute a series of violent threats and break-ins against human rights defenders and organisations, including against organisations working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.

    Further information:

    Peter Tatchell
    Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
    0207 403 1790
    Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
    Web: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

    Susheila Juggapah
    Campaign and Press Officer, Peter Tatchell Foundation
    0203 397 2190
    Email: Sushi@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
    Web: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org
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