Cameroon groups: It's too dangerous to keep fighting AIDS

Published: July 22, 2013

LGBT rights organizations in Cameroon have decided to halt AIDS education programs 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.
 
The announcement of that decision came today, a week after the discovery of the murdered body of  activist and journalist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon.
 
“We need protection,” said Dominique Menoga, president of Lembembe’s anti-AIDS group, the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (Camfaids) in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
 
“The associations have decided to stop working because of the climate of insecurity that prevails in Cameroon,” said Yves Yomb, executive director of the anti-AIDS organization Alternatives-Cameroon in Douala, Cameroon.  “It was urgent that we stop so we would not be further exposed to danger. We will work with our partners to see how we can improve working conditions and especially the security of our organizations and members.”
 
The decision by a newly formed coalition of anti-AIDS, pro-gay-rights organizations in Cameroon was announced today 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.
 
In a memorandum to those agencies, the coalition stated that Cameroon’s “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.”
 
Because of the current dangers for LGBT people in Cameroon, the coalition said, “we are forced to suspend immediately [these] projects. We reject a partnership that reduces our associations to simply a labor force that must work in precarious, dangerous conditions.”

Full text of article available at link below –

Read the original statement from Cameroonian groups here.

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