LGBTI organizations in Cameroon, particularly those located in the eastern part of the country, are frequently targeted by homophobic misinformation about their mission. They are accused of promoting homosexuality although their actual mission is to fight HIV/AIDS and defend the human rights of LGBTI people.
By Courtney Stans
The latest example of such a misinformation campaign occurred in response to an awareness- raising and advocacy meeting aimed at combatting violence and human rights violations targeting LGBTI people. The meeting was organized last month by the organization 2HRC, based in the East Cameroon region.
After the meeting, members of the media and other anti-homosexuality forces claimed that the meeting was intended to promote homosexuality. They urged police to crack down.
Leaders of 2HRC were indignant.
“We are working on a public health issue, fighting against HIV/AIDS in Cameroon, particularly among key populations most at risk of AIDS, as part of the national strategic plan for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Cameroon,” one leader of 2HRC stated.
Members of 2HRC were vilified on social networks as LGBTI people promoting homosexuality, which puts them at risk because their identities are publicly known.
Afraid for their lives, they are thinking of taking legal action to denounce the people spreading misinformation and false rumors.
Courtney Stans comments:
The sad reality is that such a legal action could not succeed, given the biased position of police and magistrates on homosexuality and the human rights of LGBTI people.
Courtney Stans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.