New threats to LGBTs in Cameroon as U.N. review nears

Published: September 9, 2013

 Seven weeks after the murder of gay activist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon, a new round of threats against LGBT people has come from a leader of the nation’s Human Rights Commission and from police, or people claiming to be police.

 
Some of the harassment has come from anti-gay computer users who have used the Internet to entrap and threaten gay men.
 
In addition, a leader of  the National Human Rights Commission went on the radio on Sept. 4 to suggest that Cameroonian human rights activists who appeal for help abroad shouldn’t expect to be safe when they return to Cameroon.
 
Direct threats were received by gay men who visited online dating sites in Cameroon, according to officials of Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS), an anti-AIDS, pro-human-rights organization based in Yaoundé.
 
On Sept. 3, Erick V., a gay man, was assaulted and threatened by a man who contacted him online, shortly before a Camfaids official received a death threat online.
 
The incident involving Erick V. began when he received an invitation on an online gay personals site for a rendezvous at 8 p.m. Sept. 3 at Chappelle Etoudi. When he arrived there, Erick said, he knew something was wrong as soon as he shook the unknown man’s hand.  The man grabbed him, said he knew Erick was gay and told him that was a disgrace.
 
When Erick pulled back, the man slapped him.  Two other unknown men arrived and surrounded him.  Erick asked them to let him go. They took his mobile phone and his wallet. The first man said he was a policeman in charge of cleaning up people’s use of the Internet. This is just the beginning, the men said before releasing him.
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