Cameroon | Crime | Deaths | Eric Ohena Lembembe | News

Prominent Gay Rights Activist in Cameroon Found Dead, Tortured

Human Rights Watch reports that Eric Ohena Lembembe, a gay rights activist and journalist, was found dead at his home on July 15 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He had been brutally tortured:

LembembeLembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

Lembembe was one of Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists. On behalf of CAMFAIDS, he collaborated closely with Human Rights Watch and two other Cameroonian organizations, Alternatives-Cameroun and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO), in researching and launching a March 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct. He also participated in drafting a submission for Cameroon’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2013 at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Lembembe was also a contributor to the blog “Erasing 76 Crimes” and authored several chapters in a book on LGBTI rights around the world, From Wrongs to Gay Rights. His organization assiduously documented arrests, violence, and blackmail against LGBTI people in Cameroon.

The group adds that Lembembe's murder has been preceded by a number of attacks, unchecked by the government, on LGBT and human rights organizations:

Lembembe’s killing follows several attacks on the offices of human rights defenders, including those working for equal rights for LGBTI people. On June 26, 2013, unidentified assailants burned down the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroun, which provides HIV services to LGBTI people. A few days earlier on June 16, the Yaoundé office of human rights lawyer Michel Togué, who represents clients charged with same-sex conduct, was burgled, and his legal files and laptop stolen. Both Togué and Alice Nkom, another lawyer who represents LGBTI clients, have received repeated death threats by email and SMS, including threats to kill their children. Although activists have reported all of these incidents, the Cameroonian authorities have not apprehended a single suspect.

HRW is urging authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation.

Lembembe contributed to the blog 76 Crimes, which notes that one of its most popular articles was "What traditional African homosexuality learned from the West".

They add:

That article is included in the book From Wrongs to Gay Rights, along with his articles about Roger Mbede, who was imprisoned because of an amorous text message to a man; Franky Djome and Jonas Kumie, who were imprisoned because they are a transgender couple; anti-gay blackmailer/extortioner Albert Edward Ekobo Samba; and the homophobic attack on last year’s IDAHO celebration in Yaoundé.

He formerly worked as a writer and editor for the monthly Tribune du Citoyen in Cameroon.

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Comments

  1. Feel the Christian Love

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 16, 2013 9:04:35 AM


  2. The followers of the false god of Moses shows their love again

    Posted by: 1♥ | Jul 16, 2013 9:11:54 AM


  3. This is what sob like Tony Perkins,Scott Lively,Peter Laberra etc live for.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 16, 2013 9:21:33 AM


  4. Ah yes, the true result of the abomination known as the Bible.

    Posted by: Michael Heynz | Jul 16, 2013 9:34:15 AM


  5. tell us again Tony Perkins how Christians are persecuted...please do tell.....

    Posted by: disgusted american | Jul 16, 2013 9:41:19 AM


  6. Maybe he should have fled to the Muslims there.

    (seriously, why not blame the Cameroon Tea Party)

    Posted by: MIke | Jul 16, 2013 9:42:20 AM


  7. @MIKE and anyone else,
    Notice I said,"the false god of Moses," I'm including the Muslims in my disgust.
    Moses never existed and this death is what happens when people worship lies.

    Posted by: 1♥ | Jul 16, 2013 9:52:34 AM


  8. This is horrible. I'm so sorry for this good man.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 16, 2013 9:52:46 AM


  9. It is long past time to declare those evangelical organizations who have been proselytizing hatred against LGBTQ people as terrorist organisations. This murder of a good and courageous man should not go unpunished. The U.S. government must strongly denounce and condemn this heinous crime and the U.S. evangelical groups who have encouraged such violence.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 16, 2013 9:55:38 AM


  10. This is why the work is never done for the LBGT.

    Posted by: bambinoitaliano | Jul 16, 2013 9:56:15 AM


  11. Jamal, the article states there is no clue as of now who did it. So I assume if it is a Muslim group you'd still expect the same from the US government. Now let's review which religion is more likely to torture and kill homosexuals.

    Posted by: MIke | Jul 16, 2013 10:08:41 AM


  12. I'm so glad that I was born a homosexual. No other aspect of myself has allowed me to know the hypocrisy of this world better than my sexual orientation.

    Posted by: Martin | Jul 16, 2013 10:15:03 AM


  13. It is time for opposition to this barbarism to go beyond words

    Posted by: JD | Jul 16, 2013 10:24:17 AM


  14. Wow...how brave these African and Arab Gays are. They risk their...they lose their lives because they refuse to hide in the closet.

    I can't even imagine having that kind of courage.

    Posted by: Derrick form Philly | Jul 16, 2013 10:26:14 AM


  15. waiting for the protests in LA demanding justice here, but highly doubt it will happen as its just more black on black crime

    Posted by: Lee | Jul 16, 2013 10:28:02 AM


  16. waiting for the protests in LA demanding justice here, but highly doubt it will happen as its just more black on black crime

    Posted by: Lee | Jul 16, 2013 10:28:03 AM


  17. THIS is what needs documentaries, first. Not the first world 'it gets better' vapors. That poor man, he should never have had to suffer like this.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jul 16, 2013 10:32:40 AM


  18. Yes, Lee, for years our country has not cared about Black on Black crime.

    It wasn't until the 1950s that our country began to pay attention to White on Black crime (lynchings and rapes).

    And when Black on White crime began to happen in the 1970s...well, that's when our country began to really take notice.

    America, the beautiful.

    Posted by: Derrick form Philly | Jul 16, 2013 10:35:30 AM


  19. Isn't Cameroon where they filmed that sexy Tarzan movie?

    Posted by: He's Murried | Jul 16, 2013 10:52:24 AM


  20. I know some commenters got mad when I said this in a previous post, but I think the gay rights struggle in the US is drawing to a close (not closed, but getting there quickly). I think donations to all these US focused gay rights groups will dry up as a result, but we really need to refocus our efforts to support gay rights organizations in the developing world. As others have said, these gay rights leaders in these countries are the real heroes, and both deserve and need our support. They operate in an overwhelmingly hostile environment, and their opponents are getting plenty more help from the evangelicals. It's time for gays who had the good fortune to live in more liberal countries to support people like Lembebe.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Jul 16, 2013 12:04:08 PM


  21. People like Eric are heroes and should be remembered. Such courage our activist friends must have in these developing countries where homosexuality is not tolerated... We lost a good man.

    Posted by: Evan C | Jul 16, 2013 12:18:08 PM


  22. @Brian1, the donations should have been given from the beginning, I agree with you about focus on where it's needed desperately.

    If DOMA is the nearing of the end of the need to fight in America, then that just underscores how superficial the movement is in America. This is what happens when the 'movement' focuses on the fights of the rich at the expense of the poor.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jul 16, 2013 12:37:31 PM


  23. He should have escaped that hell hole and immigrated as a refugee to France. RIP.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 16, 2013 1:08:45 PM


  24. Yes, Lee, for years our country has not cared about Black on Black crime.

    It wasn't until the 1950s that our country began to pay attention to White on Black crime (lynchings and rapes).

    And when Black on White crime began to happen in the 1970s...well, that's when our country began to really take notice.

    America, the beautiful.

    POSTED BY: DERRICK FORM PHILLY | JUL 16, 2013 10:35:30 AM

    ==================

    Derrick, you're correct. Except, 'America' still allows the high level of crime, violence and lawlessness...black on black, black on brown, brown on black, black on white, white on white [I won't mention white on black because to be honest Derrick, it statistically extremely rare], etc. We accept this status quo because to confront it would require doing uncomfortable things and being seen as 'mean spirited'.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 16, 2013 1:11:52 PM


  25. Get out of Cameroon and other dangerous countries if you are gay. There is no accountability for murdered gay people there. Rest peacefully, Mr. Lembembe.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 16, 2013 1:21:45 PM


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