Officials at the University of Yaoundé II in Cameroon have blocked the academic career of a mature student known as Kundy (a pseudonym) because of his ongoing work on behalf of LGBTI people.
By Steeves Winner
In his thirties, Kundy is one of the most experienced LGBTI activists in Cameroon. He has had an impressive amount of experience protecting and advocating for LGBTI people in the country.
He has spearheaded projects and surveys about the situation of LGBTI people in Cameroon and has represented the LGBTI community at regional conferences and at the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission africaine des droits de l’Homme et des Peuples). He has repeatedly advocated for improved living conditions for vulnerable sexual minorities.
Yet Kundy has seen his post-graduate legal studies become a contentious issue. He was forbidden to defend his planned master’s thesis in 2015 at University of Yaoundé II university. He was required to change the subject of the thesis, which was going to be “The implementation of preventive social actions against the abuse of LGBTI people in Cameroon: The case of Eric Ohena Lembembe.”
He ended up writing about Cameroon’s counter-terrorism law.
Academic leaders told him to stop his LGBTI advocacy work, but he did not.
In January 2016, Kundy submitted his application to begin work toward a PhD focusing on ‘‘The issues of criminology in the face of increasing assaults on human rights in the world. The particular case of the abuse against LGBTI people.”
The university never responded to his application, although he made inquiries about it several times over a three-year period.
When he finally met with his academic adviser to find out what was going on, Kundy was told that the university does not promote homosexuality.
‘‘No action was ever taken on my application. For the third year in a row, I find myself stuck while my academic colleagues have already made progress in their research.
“I even tried to change universities — I applied to Dschang, N’Gaoundéré, Douala and Maroua. Each rejected me without giving any reason. My view is that academic leaders from Yaoundé II sent out messages to their colleagues to block me from enrolling at any other universities.”
Kundy still hopes to find a university — probably in a country where homosexuality is not against the law — where he could finally start working on his PhD dissertation.
If you have suggestions for how you could help Kundy achieve this goal, please contact Steeves Winner.
Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org