The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights has commented on the political and security crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.
In a statement released late last week, the body said it was concerned with the harsh manner in which the government had handled peaceful protesters. They also called for an independent probe into the deaths that has so far resulted.
“We urge the authorities to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and take measures to prevent the use of force when policing demonstrations.
People should be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through having uninterrupted access to the internet.
“People should be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through having uninterrupted access to the internet.”
The body reiterated an earlier call by the U.N. chief, Antonio Guterres, who last week called for restraint in the North West and South West regions – where separatists are fighting for independence from predominant French – speaking Cameroon.
“We urge the Government and Anglophone groups to engage in a meaningful political dialogue so that the grievances of the Anglophone population, which date back decades, can be fully addressed,” the statement added.
Though the secessionists are pushing for independence under the Ambazonia republic banner, the central government has insisted that the unity of the Central African country remained non-negotiable.
The date slated for the independence declaration, October 1, was marred by clashes between security forces and protesters leading to deaths. The government put the death toll at 10 even though rights group Amnesty international quoted 17.
The main opposition on their part said 30 people were killed. Reports indicate that scores were injured in the clashes whiles hundreds were arrested by security forces. Social media access has been cut for over a week now.