Cameroon: death of prominent human rights defender and journalist Eric Lembembe

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We are shocked by the death of prominent human rights defender and journalist Eric Lembembe in Cameroon. Lembembe was found dead in his house on July 15. His body reportedly showed evidence of physical mistreatment possibly amounting to torture.

This case is taking place amid a general climate of fear amongst Cameroonian human rights defenders, some of whom have received death threats by phone or email for defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

In June, three local NGOs launched a report together with Human Rights Watch on human rights violations linked to arbitrary arrests and detentions on the grounds of homosexuality in Cameroon.

The need to ensure human rights for all and to respect the principles of non-discrimination, including for people belonging to sexual minorities, was also raised with the Cameroonian authorities by the High Commissioner during her recent visit to Cameroon (30 June – 2 July 2013).

Our office in Cameroon has approached the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms and requested that the Commission takes necessary steps to ensure that the case is properly investigated by the police so that Mr Lembembe’s murderers are brought to justice.