Gay rights and Aids prevention groups in Cameroon say they can no longer do their work under the threat of violence without the protection of the police, following the murder of high-profile activist Eric Lembembe last week.
‘We have all decided to stop our work in the field because our security is at risk,’ said executive director of Alternatives-Cameroun Yves Yomb, the Guardian reports. ‘We have no protection from the police and we feel that our lives are at risk.’
Lembembe was the executive director of Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS) and warned about the threat of ‘anti-gay thugs’ two weeks before he was found dead with multiple injuries at his home.
The groups working for gay rights and preventing the spread of HIV in Cameroon have appealed to the Global Fund, which supports the fight against Aids worldwide, to provide funding for security to protect them from attacks.
Authorities in the central African country have not spoken out against Lembembe’s murder nor arrested anyone in connection with the crime, despite worldwide condemnation of their lack of action from the US State Department and Human Rights Watch.
The Global Fund told the Guardian it strongly condemns attacks on gay rights activists, and was considering the request for funding from the Cameroonian groups.
Earlier this week human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and African LGBTI rights groups protested outside the Cameroonian High Commission in London to urge the government to take action after Lembembe’s murder.
At the end of last month Alternatives-Cameroun’s office was set on fire overnight. Ten days before that the office of human rights lawyer Michel Togué, who defended gay and lesbian people, was burgled. No arrests were made in either case.