By Fon Vera
Douala-September 30, 2019 ( Cameroon News Agency) A young Human Rights and Peace campaigner, Nche Tala of the Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network, ASDPN, has once again defied death threats and gone vocal at the UN on the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the dangers his charity and other similar charities are facing on a daily basis in helping the distress population. Speaking at the UN Youth Summit in September 2019, he hit hard on the atrocities allegedly being committed by the Cameroon military particularly the BIR on the civilian population of the two English speaking regions of the country.
He drew the attention of the diplomatic community on the scorched-earth policy adopted by elements of the Cameroonian military which according to him, consist of the burning of villages, including schools, churches, and mosques.
The Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network in one of its many outings on May 14, 2019, made a report indicting the military of raiding villages. According to this report, more than 110 villages have been raided by the Cameroon military and burnt to ashes. The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, of barrister Agbor Felix had an almost similar report on damages done in villages.
He pointed out that government forces are harassing the local population as they engaged in indiscriminate killings and that young adult males of about his age are high-level targets.
He drew attention to the fact that for over 3 years, children of school-going age have not had access to education due to the extremely high level of insecurity created mostly by the government actions and separatist actions.
Several human rights activists who attended UN events have been in one-way or the order threatened by the regime, through threats of arrest and detention. CARITAS representative who attended the UN Arria-Formula, Fr Paul Njokikang FRU from Bamenda, was arrested months after his return from the US. Soldiers did not give reasons for his arrest, but he was later released. It is not clear if his arrest was linked with his outstanding presentation of the humanitarian situation in Cameroon, at the UN Security Council in May 2019.
“Besides the multiple death threats, attempts to close my organization, failed assassination attempts, I was abducted at the Veterinary Junction in Bamenda on February 28th, 2019 by elements of the Cameroon military after one of my regular interviews on the war in Cameroon. I was then subjected to serious torture in detention conditions, unfit even for pigs. They later released me on the 7 of February same year but was visibly battered and abandoned on the street with a broken arm. Since my release, the Cameroon government has sustained the threats against me and members of my household who are presently in hiding after the burning of my family home in September this year.” He told CNA.
There are presently no signs that the deteriorating human rights conditions in Cameroon will slow down any time soon nor are there any signs that the government will relent in her crackdown against outspoken human rights activists.
“There is an urgent need for the opening up of the humanitarian space and the provision of unhindered access for humanitarian personnel by the Cameroonian government.” He concluded.
This call was reechoed recently by the Network for Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa, REDHAC. It’s President, Maximillienne Ngo Mbe urged the government of Cameroon to protect rights defenders and account for missing ones. Journalists and rights defenders have witnessed forced disappearance, imprisonment, and torture.
REDHAC holds the government responsible for the current upheavals and is in favor of an international fact-finding mission to evaluate the human rights and humanitarian situation in Cameroon’s restive regions of the North West and South West.
United States President, Donald Trump has informed the Congress that he will suspend Cameroon from the AGOA trade deals from 2020 due to the country’s gross violation of human rights. A decision that has further exposed the deteriorating situation in Cameroon.