Cameroon’s LGBTI community continues to be the target of homophobic violence. Two incidents from early summer typify the ongoing problem.
By Ghislain J. Nkontchou
In late June, vandals struck the offices of Health Care Cameroon (HC²), a community organization that fights against HIV, works to end gender-based violence, and advocates for LGBTI people’s human rights.
HC², located in the city of Bafia, suffered acts of vandalism in its premises during the night of June 25 by unidentified thugs who destroyed material goods and stole work devices such as telephones, laptops, and a large sum of money, the exact amount of which is not yet known. After this incident, the building owner asked HC² to leave his premises and the city under threat of being burned alive. HC² nevertheless lodged a complaint with the Bafia police station for investigation so that the culprits answer for their actions before the law.
Two weeks later, la Senatrice (a staff member of Humanity First Cameroon+) says that he and his friends were victims of a physical attack, and death threats by four thugs. Then, on the night of July 8, five unidentified individuals smashed everything on tables and stripped phones and wallets in a gay bar located at the Nouvelle Route Carrousel in Yaoundé.
Two transgender people were seriously injured during the attack. One was stabbed in the left kidney and the other in the knees. One of the victims escaped with three stitches. We don’t know if a lawsuit has been filed.
These incidents of violence and threats against LGBTI people and advocacy organizations directly endanger their rights of all LGBTI people, and inhibit the work of advocacy groups in Cameroon. This climate of insecurity is escalating despite the great work done by LGBTI organizations on tolerance and respect for human rights without discrimination.
Ghislain J. Nkontchou, the author of this article, is a human rights activist from Cameroon who is currently a graduate student in international affairs at Baruch College in New York. He is a contributing editor for Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at i[email protected].