Home » CHRDA Human Rights Report Indicates Drop In Violations, Abuses In Cameroon’s Conflict Affected Regions

CHRDA Human Rights Report Indicates Drop In Violations, Abuses In Cameroon’s Conflict Affected Regions

by Atlantic Chronicles

In its latest presentation of the human rights situation of the conflict situation in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions, as well as the Far North Region, the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa says it has observed a drop in the number of human rights violations and abuses. This, the organisation says, is as compared to situation during the last quarter of 2023.

The organisation says the drop on the part of non-state armed groups is partly due to their weakened capabilities, creation of more military bases, as well as hostilities of the armed groups towards communities, and the communities turning on them, thereby have reduced their presence and influence on communities.  

CHRDA’s first quarter report was presented to the media on May 7, 2024, by the organisation’s Executive Director, Dr Fokum Violet alongside Wirba Beldrine, Assistant Human Right Officer. The session was moderated by Tarhyang Tabe. 

Though noting that the incidents of human rights violation and abuses have reduced, CHRDA still regrets that in the first quarter of 2024, (January to March), “the Conflict affected regions of Cameroon continued to experience Human Rights abuses and violations. Boko Haram Insurgents in the Far North region continued to plan and execute sporadic attacks against State Defence and Security Forces (DSF) and civilians/their property. These attacks are still very much present in this region though the frequency and impact of such attacks have significantly reduced. In the North West and South West Regions, we recorded a good number of cases of human rights violations and abuses of which include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and targeted killings, Arbitrary arrest and detention, Kidnapping and ransom taking, violations of the right to free movement and association, violations of the right to worship, violations on the right to own and dispose of one’s property freely amongst other violations”.

In its report, CHRDA emphasised the need for all parties in the conflict to respect the rules that govern conflict, and to especially respect human rights. The organisation cited some instances and cases of gross human rights violations and abuses carried out by all parties in the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, and the Far North region as well. 

On the way forward on the conflict, CHRDA made several recommendations to the various actors on what they should do and how they should go out on issues that border on human rights and freedoms. 

Recommendations to the belligerents 

To the government of Cameroon, CHRDA urged that they speed up judicial proceedings against persons arrested in the context of the crisis. This they say will ensure the release of all unlawfully arrested. The state was equally urged to be transparent in proceedings against its agents, especially state security forces who have been indicted for human rights violations. 

CHRDA Officials and journalists at the press conference

CHRDA Officials and journalists at the press conference

To the Cameroon government and Ambazonia separatist leaders, CHRDA recommended that they engage in a truthful and mediated dialogue to resolve the issue. To the state security forces and Ambazonia fighters, CHRDA urged them to exercise restraint and desist from committing human rights violations and abuses, especially attacks against civilians and properties. The belligerents were also urged to stop all attacks against journalists and human rights defenders. 

The leaderships of separatist fighters were urged to end all attacks on education, teachers, students and education infrastructures. 

CHRDA also recommended that the government should grant access to detention facilities to NGOs. Cameroon’s judicial authorities were called on to dispense justice fairly and in respect of all international commitments that Cameroon is party to. 

As concern the fight against Boko Haram, CRHDA called on the government to foster civilian-military cooperation and increase security measures in the Far North. 

Recommendations to the International Community

To friends of Cameroon and the international community, CHRDA said they should continue to put pressure on the Cameroon government to respect its engagements to international human rights instruments, as well as humanitarian law. 

CHRDA also urged the international community to use all means available to make the state of Cameroon as well as separatist fighters to adopt a sincere, inclusive and negotiated dialogue to resolve the crisis in Anglophone regions of Cameroon. 

 By Andrew Nsoseka

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