Protesters rally at Cameroon's U.K. Mission For Slain Gay Activist

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[Global: U.K.] 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.

A prominent Cameroonian gay activist, Eric Lembembe was tortured and murdered in West Africa, the capital –Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The protest which was organized by the African LGBTI organization, Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, called for the suspension of Cameroon from the Commonwealth Club.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Eugene Fomekong, who worked with Eric Lembembe and fled Cameroon fearing victimization, 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 organizer 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 government officially sanctions the persecution of LGBT people. 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 victimization of LGBT people,” said Mr Tatchell. The protesters also called on the Commonwealth Secretary General to publicly condemn homophobic witch-hunt in Cameroon and other part of the world.

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



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