Cameroon must de-escalate Anglophone crisis, allow human rights monitors: U.N.

The United Nations Human Rights chief has stressed that it is in the interest of the Cameroonian government to de-escalate tensions arising from the Anglophone crisis.

In an oral update by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to the 37th session of the Human Rights Council on March 7, 2018; he added that his office had yet to be granted access to monitor rights violations.

His address also addressed the arrest of Anglophone leaders in Nigeria and their subsequent deportation to Cameroon, where they are yet to be put before court. The U.N. has criticized the move saying it violated international principles.

The Anglophone regions remain under curfew imposed by their respective governors. The curfews have been imposed supposedly to allow security forces to contain attacks by armed separatists on members of the security forces.

About 24 members of the security forces – the military, police and gendarmes – have so far been killed in guerilla style attacks especially at checkpoints. The separatists have also reported having kidnapped two government officials.

The government still maintains that there is security in the regions but recently created a fifth military region in the capital of the North West region, Bamenda. The move was seen as a means to face off with the separatists.

The separatists under the so-called Ambazonia Republic have since October 2017 attempted to breakaway from French-majority Cameroon. There has been international calls for dialogue to end the crisis which has also created a humanitarian situation with people fleeing into Nigeria.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s full observation on Cameroon

“In Cameroon, what appears to be long-standing structural discrimination in the Anglophone region of the country has led to continuing clashes between security forces and separatist groups. 

“The arrest, in Nigeria, of 47 Anglophone community leaders, and their extradition to Cameroon has reportedly led to renewed violence in the south-west and north-west of the country.

“Allegations of summary executions of civilians by members of the security forces have been reported, and are generating widespread resentment. I regret that my Office has not been given access to verify these allegations.

“Acknowledging the complex challenges facing the authorities – including renewed displacement from the Central African Republic and the increase in Boko Haram attacks in the north – I urge the Government to make every effort to de-escalate the conflict in the Anglophone regions, and to allow unimpeded access to human rights monitors so that accurate information on the situation can inform constructive engagement on the way forward.”
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