CAMEF office vandalised

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22 Dec

On 22 December 2013 anti-gay vandals destroyed the office of the Cameroon Association for Empowerment Outreach Programs (CAMEF). The organisation was established in the year 2010 to provide human rights and HIV/Aids prevention information and services to the LGBT and sex worker communities in Limbe in coastal Cameroon.

The attack came three days before Christmas, with threatening messages stating Go away, pede [fag], go away and Another warning: Go away. ‘Our office door was pushed through by the persons that have been threatening us with hateful signs and messages. They broke the main door’s handle and pushed it through’, said a CAMEF staff member. The office computer was thrown on the floor. A digital camera and two laptops were stolen. Files and documents were strewn on the floor. Tables, chairs and a lamp were overturned.

Under Article 343 of the Cameroonian Penal Code, sex work is illegal. For male and transgender sex workers, Article 347 of the Penal code criminalises same sex practices. Those found guilty can face up to five years in prison.

As a result of these threats, CAMEF’s landlord has had to evict the organisation out of fear. According to Bill Simbo the Executive Director of CAMEF, the organisation now carries out door to door activities in the sex work community as they currently do not have a site. ‘We hope to get some funding so we can rent an office space where we are going to continue with our regular activities since the vandalism’, Simbo said.  For information about how to contribute towards CAMEF’s new office, write to camef.cameroon@gmail.com or call (237) 74 07 64 65 or (237) 99 46 57 69.