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Delayed Justice for Murdered LGBTI Activist, Cameroon

Pat Robert  Larubi - 16/07/2014 07:10 CDT

Kampala, Kampala, Uganda

“It is hard to believe that over the course of a year, authorities in Cameroon have not conducted proper investigation into the murder of Eric Lembembe and that there have been no arrests, no court proceedings, and no justice served," Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs at Freedom Housen said, "This inaction suggests to the public that perpetrators of homophobic or transphobic crimes will not suffer any consequences.

“Such impunity creates an opening for yet more hate crimes and persecution in a country that already severely restricts the rights of LGBTI citizens,” Petrovic said. “Freedom House encourages the United States to address this issue along with the ongoing persecution of LGBTI individuals with President Paul Biya at the African Leaders Summit August 5-6 in Washington, D.C."

According to Chloe Schwenke, vice president of global programs at Freedom House, Eric Lembembe died as a result of the persistence of ignorance, prejudice and laws that deny LGBTI people in Cameroon of their fundamental rights.

Lembembe, who served as the executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAID) was discovered dead by friends after his neck and legs were all broken, the shocking revelation of his face, hands and feet suspected to be burnt with a hot iron sprung international organizations to resist the inhuman treatment with respect to life.

'Lembembe beat the odds of the by serving LGBTI in Cameroon, a country considered to be the most hostile for sexual minorities.
However, Freedom House has called upon authorities in Cameroon to reject this kind of intolerance and make every effort to bring Lembenbe's killer to justice.

In the wake of the struggle for rights, he will be remembered for his leadership, integrity, and extraordinary courage in the face of one of the world’s most repressive environments for LGBTI people.

The release further noted that, Cameroon is rated Not Free in General Freedom and Freedom of the Press as per 2013 findings. Discrimination against the LGBTI community in Cameroon is widespread. Since 2010, at least 28 people have been tried under the penal code’s Article 347, which forbids homosexual activity, and allows for prison sentences of between six months to five years.

Photo: Eric before his death!!!by FHI