HomeUncategorizedEU Calls On Paul Biya To Release Political Prisoners, End Rights Abuses And Engage In Inclusive Dialogue

EU Calls On Paul Biya To Release Political Prisoners, End Rights Abuses And Engage In Inclusive Dialogue

EU Calls On Paul Biya To Release Political Prisoners, End Rights Abuses And Engage In Inclusive Dialogue

Following motion for resolution yesterday in the ongoing European Union Parliament, members have finally resolved on a number of issues including a call on the authorities of Cameroon to immediately and unconditionally release political opponents, such as Maurice Kamto, but also human rights defenders, civil society activists, protesters, journalists, trade unionists, teachers, and any other citizen who has been arbitrarily arrested and detained solely for political purposes.

European Parliament resolution on Cameroon

(2019/2691(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cameroon,

– having regards to the statement by the EEAS spokesperson on the presidential elections in Cameroon of 25 October 2018,

– having regard to the Preliminary Statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission to the 7 October 2018 Presidential Election in the Republic of Cameroon Yaounde, of 9 October 2018,

– having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU, on the deteriorating political and security situation in Cameroon of 5 March 2019,

–  having regards to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regards to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regards to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement and the human rights clauses contained therein,

–  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the arrest on 26 January and continued detention of several leaders of an opposition party, including its leader, Maurice Kamto, and of a large number of protesters and sympathisers is exacerbating the political unrest in Cameroon;

B. whereas on 10 April the Court of Appeal in the Cameroon Central Region confirmed the decision taken in the first instance, and rejected liberating Maurice Kamto and six others; whereas the proceedings in the Court of Appeal took place in the absence of Maurice Kamto and his lawyers;

C. whereas on 5 April the Ministry of the Territorial Administration banned demonstrations between April 6 and 13, and also accused the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) party of destabilising the country;

D. whereas the crackdown on peaceful protests across several cities undermines the rights to freedom of expression and assembly in Cameroon;

E. whereas the continued violence and human rights violations in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon have led to a high number of casualties;

F. whereas numerous reports from human rights monitors have documented the excessive use of force by security forces against citizens living in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon;

G. whereas the crisis has led to an estimated 437 000 people being internally displaced, and a further 30 000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria;

H. whereas the National Indicative programme of the 11th European Development Fund foresees 282 EUR million in aid to Cameroon for the period 2014-2020;

I. whereas the authorities of Cameroon have repeatedly restricted freedom of expression by shutting down the internet, harassing and detaining journalists, refusing licenses to independent media, and intensifying political attacks against the independent press;

J. whereas the African Union Election Observation Mission concluded that there were some security challenges during the presidential elections, in particular, in the North- West and South-West regions; whereas the security environment resulted in curtailment of civil and political liberties in these regions of Cameroon, thereby impacting negatively on the level of participation of citizens in the electoral process;

1. Calls on the authorities of Cameroon to immediately and unconditionally release political opponents, such as Maurice Kamto, but also human rights defenders, civil society activists, protesters, journalists, trade unionists, teachers, and any other citizen who has been arbitrarily arrested and detained solely for political purposes;

2. Calls on the authorities of Cameroon to respect the fundamental rights of all citizens, including political opponents and journalists, including the right to a fair trial that includes also a public hearing;

3. Condemns the use of excessive force against protestors and political opponents, and violations of the freedoms of press, expression, and assembly;

4. Stresses that the Government of Cameroon is responsible for upholding the rights of all citizens, regardless of political views or beliefs or the regions in which they reside;

5. Calls for an independent and transparent investigation into the use of force by the police and security forces against protesters and political opponents and to hold those responsible to account in fair trials; stresses that the Government of Cameroon has a responsibility to ensure that its security forces carry out operations in respect of international human rights law;

6. Stresses that the significant challenges facing the country can only be met by means of a meaningful and inclusive political dialogue and by respecting fundamental freedoms and the rule of law; notes that this is also the foundation of the partnership between Cameroon and the EU;

7. Calls on the EU to take advantage of the political leverage provided by development aid programmes to enhance the defence of human rights in Cameroon;

8. Believes that free and independent media, which enables an open debate, is an essential foundation of a democratic state; calls on the EU to continue promoting freedom of expression through its external policies and instruments;

9. Underlines that in its preliminary statement the African Union Election Observation Mission recommends to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for elections in Cameroon, which could increase voter confidence in the electoral process and make it more inclusive;

10. Calls on the European Union to support Cameroon in strengthening its electoral procedures, making them more democratic;

11. Instructs its President to forward this Resolution to the Commission, the Council, and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and the Parliament of Cameroon, and the co-presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Assembly.

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