Cameroon LGBT activist granted asylum in US after receiving death threats for taking part in film

Published: December 5, 2013

A Cameroonian LGBT activist has been reunited with her family in San Francisco after receiving death threats for appearing in a Human Rights Watch (HMW) documentary.

The film by HRW, a US based organisation which campaigns for LGBT rights around the world, documents how the LGBT community in Cameroon is forced to remain at the margins of society.
The activist in the film, known only as Gertrude, has been granted asylum in the United States following support from several politicians, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Gertrude and her family began receiving death threats from individuals in Cameroon whilst she was visiting the US in order to promote the film.
In July this year, at the same time as her visit, LGBT activist Eric Lembembe was murdered at his home in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.
Gertrude made the difficult decision to stay in the US and separate from her partner and their 10-month-old daughter. While she was in America, Gertrude’s brother-in-law tried to put the couple’s daughter up for adoption and her partner Carine was brutally attacked.
“The extraordinary circumstances of this case were particularly heartbreaking,” said Morrison & Foerster associate Diana Kruze, who worked on the case. “Gertrude was forced to leave her family behind in Cameroon, where homophobia is rampant.

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