By Nadesh E.
“Due to the nature of the crisis, it is imperative that all humanitarian actors are seen as neutral and impartial. One of the reasons why humanitarian organizations do not use military escorts is because they do not see themselves as targets of neither government nor separatist fighters.”
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has denied allegations circulating on Social media about their involvement with the Presidential Programme for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) recently launched by the Cameroon Government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
“OCHA must have been mistaken for the United Nations Development Program that is working together with the Cameroon Government on the PPRD,” they added.
This remark was made in Buea, southwest region, in a press conference held on July 14, 2020.
According to the head of the UN Sub-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for North and South-West Regions, James Nunan, OCHA and other humanitarian organisations operate in accordance with humanitarian principles of Humanity, Independence, Neutrality and Impartiality.
Suspicions of OCHA’s involvement with the government by alleged separatists fighters has led to targeted attacks towards OCHA’s workers. The latest attack was the killing of a community health worker who was supported by Doctors Beyond Borders organization in South-West Cameroon. Mr Nunan said the persistence of such attacks may prompt humanitarian organisations to shut down activities in crisis-hit regions.
He reiterated that humanitarian organisations have been working to save the lives of civilians affected by the crisis. However, “The situations go worse as years pass by, since they started work in 2018, the number of people being killed, displaced keeps increasing,” he bemoaned.
So far, 2.3 million people in NWSW regions are affected by the crisis and 1.4 million have been targeted with humanitarian assistance in 2020.
Despite the reach, Mr, Nunan laments assessment and reach has been hampered by the continuous insecurity and targeting of humanitarian personnel. He confirms data concerning the crisis situation is stale since the December 2019 assessment session was not done due to tense situation on the ground.
Some important points to note concerning humanitarian activities in Cameroon
- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs coordinates the activities of all humanitarian activities in the two regions, including National and International NGOs and UN humanitarian Organizations.
- The United Nations Development Programme is the development arm of the UN and is different from OCHA. As such, UNDP does not conduct humanitarian activities and has a different mandate with its primary partner in every country the host government.
- The UNDP has agreed to contribute to the PPRD project with the Cameroon government.