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OHCHR Wants An Assessment Mission To NW, SW

OHCHR Wants An Assessment Mission To NW, SW

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, has disclosed that the UN is envisaging an assessment mission to the war-torn North West and South West regions with permission from the Cameroon Government.

This disclosure was made Tuesday November 20, 2018 in a report on the war ongoing in Southern Cameroons.

The spokesperson said the Human Rights office was greatly disturbed with the level of rights violations perpetrated on the population by both sides. A refrain and chatting the way forward will be commendable, they advised.

OHCHR updates on the situation in Cameroon.

We are deeply concerned about the worsening violence in the Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon, as we continue to receive reports of abductions and killings by armed groups, as well as extrajudicial killings by State armed forces. We urge all sides to refrain from acts of violence that have, for more than a year now, left the population in these regions living in fear, unable to access their basic human rights.

In addition to the high-profile abduction and subsequent release of 78 students and three staff at a Presbyterian secondary school in Bamenda, in the Northwest earlier this month, we regularly receive reports of abductions, reportedly carried out by armed secessionist groups. Just over the past two weeks, we have received reports of the abduction of eight students and one school official in Kumba, in the Southwest, and of at least 13 nuns near the locality of Bamessing – Ndop in the Northwest. They were all subsequently released, after some parents paid ransoms and the Catholic Diocese of Kumba intervened.

We have also received reports of armed secessionist groups attacking schools and destroying school buildings, which, coupled with the worrying abductions, has resulted in many children being unable to access their right to education since the violence broke out in October last year. There are also reports of the abduction and killing of police officers and administrative authorities.

Also in recent months, Cameroonian armed forces have allegedly carried out a number of extrajudicial executions in the Northwest and Southwest regions. On 20 October, in the village of Rom, in the Northwest town of Nwa, security forces reportedly killed four villagers during a confrontation with armed secessionist groups, while on 24 September, two men suspected of being secessionist fighters were reportedly killed on the spot. There have been numerous such reports in the preceding months.

What began as protests in October 2016 in the Northwest and Southwest regions against structural discrimination escalated into violence in 2017, and the situation has worsened considerably since then. The violence has led to massive internal displacement – at least 436,000 people are believed to be internally displaced, while more than 30,000 have fled to Nigeria since September last year.

We strongly condemn the human rights violations and abuses that have plagued the people in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.

We call on armed secessionists groups to refrain from the use of violence.

We urge the Government to respect and protect the rights of all, to address the long-standing grievances of the communities in these regions, including through dialogue, to promptly investigate all cases of violations reportedly involving its security and defence forces, and to hold perpetrators responsible.

We also reiterate our readiness to work with the Government of Cameroon, including through an assessment mission to the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country that will enable us to be able to look into the human rights situation first-hand and engage with the Government accordingly on ways to address it.

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