LGBT groups forced to suspend AIDS education in Cameroon
LGBT rights groups in Cameroon are being forced to suspend Aids education programmes because fears of educator’s safety.
AllAfrica.com is reporting that Aids education programmes have been halted by LGBT organisations in Cameroon “until their international partners help them to improve security so activists won’t be killed while trying to curb the spread of HIV among LGBT people there.”
Writing on 76Crimes.com Colin Stewart stated the announcement had come a week after the body of slain journalist and activist Eric Lembembe was discovered by police in Cameroon.
“We need protection,” said Dominique Menoga, president of Lembembe’s anti-AIDS group, the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (Camfaids) in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
In a statement to donors, LGBT organisations said that the climate of homophobia has ‘intensified and now has reached a critical point.’
The decision was announced by a coalition of anti-aids and pro-gay-rights groups, on the 22nd July to USAID, Care Cameroon; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW), which provide funding for HIV education programs for LGBT people in Cameroon.
The Statement can be read below:
In this memorandum, the associations supporting the LGBTI community of Cameroon announce the creation of a coalition that speaks for them with a unified voice.
The purpose of this coalition is to communicate as one with development partners, regional authorities and international organizations about strategic issues facing Cameroonian organizations.
In the fight for the rights of sexual minorities in Cameroon, the long-decried climate of homophobia has intensified and now has reached a critical point.
The pursuit of our various missions (prevention of STIs / HIV, medical care, advocacy for rights, support of people imprisoned for their sexual orientation and / or gender identity) requires a minimum level of security, institutional support and financial support.
At present, the high level of insecurity in Cameroon has unfortunately led to the murder of Eric Lembembe Ohena of CAMFAIDS. We also note that serious threats have been made against the locations and members of our organizations, to the point where continuing our current work unchanged would be dangerous.
For this reason, we are asking you for additional financial and institutional support to ensure:
A plan for securing our organizations, officers and members (the costs of around-the-clock guards for our center, insurance, and purchase of surveillance equipment).
Creation of an emergency fund to defend our organizations and activists.
Establishment of a common activity center in Yaoundé where maximum security can be provided.
Because of the dangers of the current situation, in cities of Yaoundé and Douala we are forced to suspend immediately the projects we have with USAID through Care Cameroon and with the Global Fund through CAMNAFAW. Minimal services will continue to be provided to our clients.
We reject a partnership that reduces our associations to simply a labor force that must work in precarious, dangerous conditions.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in Cameroon face legal challenges, both male and female same-sex sexuality activity is illegal. People found guilty can be imprisoned for 5 years and fined 20,000 to 200,000 francs (£26.26 – £262.58)
The national average yearly income per person in Cameroon is just £758.71
It is estimated that in 2011 there were 550,000 peole living with HIV and 34,000 deaths due to AIDS.