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Joint statement between ADEFHO (Cameroon) and Fundación Triángulo (Spain)
PHISICAL WELLBEING OF ACTIVIST IN CAMEROON UNDER PUBLIC THREAT FOR DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF GAYS AND LESBIANS.
Alice Nkom is a well known Human Rights lawyer in Cameroon and fear is mounting that she may be detained.
In the last couple of days both the Association for the Defence of Homosexuals in Cameroon (ADEFHO) and, more especially, their president Alice Nkom, have both been the subject of a campaign of insults and threats against them. The reason for this is the awarding by the European Union of a grant for ADEFHO to carry out a project to defend the Human Rights of gay and lesbian people.
The eventss started unfolding when a representative of the government accused Mrs. Nkom of crimes against “the state of law, the sovereignty and the independence of Cameroon”. Various other radical voices have requested that she be detained. On the other hand the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding that the EU cancel the grant awarded to ADEFHO and other civil society organizations in Cameroon.
But by far the most serious and grave threats have been made after the official statement. Alice Nkom’s physical wellbeing was publicly threatened on STV2 Television in Cameroon when, on 11 Jan 2011, Kengouum Celestin, a lawyer in Cameroon, said: “I have friends that have told me that they are waiting to run into you in some dark corner of the city to ‘have some major fun action with you’”. These words were directed at Mrs. Nkom. The threats have gone “in crescendo” in the last few days both against members of the organization as well as Mrs. Nkom herself.
Fundación Triángulo would like to publicly state their support for ADEFHO as well as applaud the courage of it’s members and that of Alice Nkom, who maintains her stance knowing that the law and human dignity are both on her side.
For all the above mentioned reasons ADEFHO and Fundación Triángulo would like to make a call to the world’s civil society, LGBT organizations, Human Rights Organizations, private citizens and public representatives to stay alert on the face of such blatant threats towards a well known lawyer who has all her life devoted herself to the defence of Human Rights.
On the other hand we encourage Cameroon’s government to protect the physical integrity of it’s citizens regardless of their personal situation, as well as the freedoms of expression and association, in the same way that they are obliged to do this by current law according to Cameroon’s Constitution as well as all international treaties that they have freely signed and that clearly defend non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. Not doing this would imply that they are a ruthless dictatorship and not a democratic country.
We would like to remind Cameroon’s government of their commitments with international organizations such as, for example, UNAIDS. During the UNAIDS organized Network of African Media in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria (REMASTP), the Ministry of Communications invited all the media to inform society of the higher risk for Men that have Sex with other Men (MSM) to contract HIV and to participate in the fight against discrimination and stigmatization of this group. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health declared on the Cameroon Tribune: “Round 10 of the Global Fund against Malaria and HIV will help the country intensify it’s awareness programs directed towards the most vulnerable groups, such as MSM and others”. This can be stated in the news article below:
Both organizations would like to thank the EU’s compromise with Human Rights by supporting a project that not only defends the Human Rights of the LGBT population in Cameroon but, above all, one that originates out of the initiative of Cameroon’s civil society. A project from Cameroon and for Cameroon. Both organizations ask the EU not to give in to the unacceptable pressure from those who demand that ADEFHO and the rest of the Human Rights organizations there be abandoned and left alone.
CALL FOR ACTION: We ask that all LGBT organizations, Human Rights organizations and public institutions around the world that are involved in the defence of Equality and Democracy send a messages of solidarity and support to ADEFHO and to Alice Nkom, so that Human Rights defenders in Cameroon can know that they are not alone and that they can count on a large support network to alert the international community in case the government in Cameroon decides to block ADEFHO’s activities and/or detain Alice Nkom, or that radical and violent individuals carry out any kind of action against Alice Nkom or ADEFHO.
Please send a short letter of support to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To get in touch with the person in Fundación Triángulo who is in charge of International Cooperation in Africa please write to: Africa@fundaciontriangulo.es
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