July 19, 2014 – By DW.de – Yaounde, Cameroon, 15 July 2013 – journalist and gay activist Eric Lembembe is found dead at his home. His body showed signs of having been severely tortured, his friends told police who launched an investigation – but without any results. Drissa Traore, deputy head of the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) in Cameroon is outraged. “Probably no one was even questioned. Absolutely no progress has been made,” Traore said in an interview with DW. He accused the government of lacking the will to pursue the case.
The murderers of Eric Lembembe have never been found
It is not a good time for sexual minorities in Africa. At the start of the year, the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, Goodluck Jonathan and Yoweri Museveni, signed laws imposing heavy penalties, including life imprisonment, on homosexuals. Even where there is some flexibility and laws may exist in the statute books but never be applied, human rights activists complain that the homophobic attitudes of many African governments encourage anti-gay and lesbian tendencies. The failure to properly investigate the murder of Eric Lembembe played into the hands of all who persecuted gay men and women and those speaking up for them, Traore said. “In Cameroon, and in southern and central Africa, homosexuals are forced to go into hiding,” he said.