Prominent LGBT Activist Beaten To Death In Cameroon

Eric Lembembe’s killing follows several acts of vandalism against human rights groups in the area.

1. Eric Ohena Lembembe, a gay rights activist and journalist, was found dead after being beaten in his home on July 15 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

2. Human Rights Watch reports:

Lembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

3. At the time of his death, he was serving as executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation For AIDS (Camfaids):

The advocacy group fights for human rights for the LGBT community in Cameroon, as well as working against the spread of AIDS. Homosexual acts are illegal in Cameroon.

4. Lembembe’s killing follows several acts of vandalism on human rights offices in the area.

Reportedly on June 26, unidentified individuals burned down the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroun, which provides HIV services.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

5. Neela Ghoshal, senior HRW LGBT rights researcher, said of Lembembe’s death:

We don’t know who killed Eric Lembembe, or why he was killed, but one thing is clear: the Cameroonian authorities’ utter failure to stem homophobic violence sends the message that these attacks can be carried out with impunity. The police should not rest until the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. President Biya should break his silence on the wave of homophobic violence in Cameroon and publicly condemn this brutal attack.

6. Lembembe was a regular contributor to the blog, Erasing 76 Crimes:

He authored one of the site’s most popular articles, What Traditional African Homosexuality Has Learned From The West. He also worked as a writer and editor for the monthly Tribune du Citoyen in Cameroon.

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at
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