Eric Ohena Lembembe, a Cameroonian journalist and outspoken LGBTI activist, was found tortured and killed at his home Monday evening. According to a Human Rights Watch report, one friend who found his body said Lembembe's neck and feet looked broken, and that his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.
Lembembe's death is a tragic loss for Cameroon, and for gay rights activists everywhere. He was the leader of the Cameroonian Foundation For AIDS (CAMFAIDS), and collaborated closely with Human Rights Watch to release a March 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct in Cameroon.
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In honor of Lembembe's life of activism and brave journalism, we suggest five reads that demonstrate just a fraction of his contribution to the LGBTI rights struggle in Africa:
"From my point of view, what can be considered “Westernization” is not only the criminalization of homosexuality by post-colonial states—since, as we know, most of the laws introduced against homosexuality are modeled after those of colonial powers—but also the emergence of a social and political group that claims its homosexual identity as a political identity." (Lembebe interviewing anthropologist Patrick Awondo)
"Cameroonian authorities should end their ‘absurd and despicable’ silence, then act to protect local human rights organizations and activists."
"Denounced for two years in gay activist groups’ press releases, Albert Edward Ekobo Samba, who passes himself off as a gay man on the Internet, continues to trap gay men with the help of accomplices posing as police."
"After three days in police custody in Cameroon, two gay men were released yesterday, but their daily life remains a nightmare."
"Marius, a doctor at the National University Hospital Center in Bangui, Cameroon, was one of the trainees at last month’s session. 'I admit that, before my training session in France, I was very homophobic. I had many prejudices about [men who have sex with men]. I thought, as a large portion of the population thinks, that such people should be exterminated.'"
(Image: Eric Ohena Lembembe)