Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations in Cameroon have informed the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other donors that have decided to halt AIDS education programmes “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, reported in a post on 22 July by Colin Stewart on the website 76crimes.com, came a week after the discovery of the murdered body of activist and journalist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon (see separate post).
“We need protection,” said Dominique Menoga, president of Lembembe’s anti-AIDS group, the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS in Yaoundé.
“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,” said Yves Yomb, executive director of the anti-AIDS organisation Alternatives-Cameroon in Douala.
In a memorandum to donors, the LGBT organisations 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 or gender identity) requires a minimum level of security, institutional support and financial support.”
The memorandum said that “because of the dangers of the current situation, in cities of Yaoundé and Douala, we are forced to suspend immediately the projects we have with USAID through Care Cameroon and with the Global Fund through CAMNAFAW. Minimal services will continue to be provided to our clients.”
CAMNAFAW is the Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare, principal recipient for a Round 10 HIV grant.