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Gay activists stop work on AIDS relief programs in Cameroon over safety concerns

Call for foreign donors to improve security for gay people

Protest at Cameroon High Commission in London July 23 over murder of LGBT/HIV activist Eric Lembembe

Cameroonian gay rights groups say they will no longer work on AIDS relief programs until foreign donors improve security for gay people, the Guardian reported on July 25.

"We have all decided to stop our work in the field because our security is at risk. We have no protection from the police and we feel that our lives are at risk," said Yves Yomb, director of AIDS relief group Alternatives-Cameroun.  

The 11 organizations sent a letter to the Global Fund, an international aid financing group, asking it to help negotiate safety from violence and state repression. The Global Fund says it is considering the request.

This month has been particularly perilous for LGBT people in Cameroon, where gay people often face violence and prejudice. The body of prominent Cameroonian gay activist Eric Lembembe was discovered in his home on July 15, after he was tortured and killed. Then, just three days ago, two Cameroonian men were sentenced to one and two years in prison for gay sex.

On Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the Cameroon High Commission in London to protest Lembembe’s murder and the conviction of the two men,according to the Peter Tatchell foundation, which organized the protest. They called for Cameroon to be suspended from the Commonwealth unless conditions for LGBT people improve.