On Monday, I wrote a post about why ethical investors might want to think twice before investing in Cameroon, a nation that criminalizes homosexuality and where there are many human rights abuses against LGBT people, particularly gay men.
I am sad to report today that LGBT activist and journalist Eric Ohena Lembembe was found dead at his home in Yaoundé on the evening of July 15, the victim of an apparent murder and hate crime. Reports Human Rights Watch: “Lembembe, executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), was an outspoken activist who defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people.”
Human Rights Watch goes on to say:
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.
I join Human Rights Watch in calling on authorities in Cameroon for justice, and for equality for all. And I urge the international community — the men and women in high places — to speak out against institutionalized homophobia and transphobia in Cameroon .