Human Rights

With a seminarian killed in Cameroon, the Bishop of Mamfe Diocese has called on the government to stop wiping out its young people and seek dialogue to end the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

“This is the cream of the country you are wiping out like that. It is not some foreign country you are fighting or some foreign enemy. These are children of the house. Instead of taking guns and wiping them out, look for a way to dialogue because only dialogue will lead us onto the way of peace,” says Cameroon’s Bishop of Mamfe Diocese, Andrew Nkea. The Bishop of Mamfe spoke earlier to Vatican News on the crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. Bishop Nkea is attending the Synod of Bishops on Young People currently happening in the Vatican.

Bishop also urges young people to embrace dialogue

The Bishop has also urged young people in the Anglophone regions to embrace dialogue. “My message to the young people who are in the bush fighting and attacking soldiers is that they should also look for a means to dialogue,” he said.

This week, Agenzia Fides reporting from Yaoundé carried the story of a seminarian killed in one of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. According to a statement signed by Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, the young seminarian called Gérard Anjiangwe, 19 years old, was killed by a group of soldiers on 4 October in front of the parish Church of Saint Theresa of Bamessing, a village near Ndop in Ngo-Ketunjia.

Eyewitnesses said soldiers arrived at the parish and started shooting and in the process sent parishioners scampering into the Sacristy where they barricaded themselves. Gérard remained praying the rosary outside as soldiers approached him. He was then shot three times in the neck.

The United Nations says the situation is worsening

Last month, September, the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed worry over the worsening security situation in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

According to the UN, there is now a pressing humanitarian situation in the regions.

Source: Vaticannews
The election of Cameroon, in particular, irks local activists who cite that nation’s violence against its own people.

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly voted in 18 new members to its Human Rights Council on Friday, but several of the nations, critics said, have well-documented records of violating human rights themselves.

The countries voted in are Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, the Philippines, Somalia, Togo, and Uruguay.

The election of Cameroon irked local activists who said the central African country of about 25 million people has a long history of marginalizing and committing violence against its own people — and is right now embroiled in an escalating humanitarian crisis bordering on civil war.

“The day that a country where a genocide is actually happening as we speak is elected to the Human Rights Council is a very sad day,” said Patrice Nganang, a Stony Brook University literature professor who was detained in his native Cameroon for three weeks in December after he wrote articles critical of the country’s president, Paul Biya.

The 85-year-old Biya has been in power since 1982 and ran in the last election Oct. 7 for another seven-year term. Election results probably will not be available until later this month.

John Chichester of Northport, who is raising money for refugees from the two-year crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, said it is hypocritical for Cameroon to serve on a panel that will monitor the human rights records of others.

“In my estimation, they have no right being on the Human Rights Council,” said Chichester, who runs the Ambas Bay Refugee Foundation, adding “but neither do so many other really bad actors.”

The vote was open to all 193 member states of the United Nations. India was the top vote-getter, with 188 votes cast in its favor. The countries ran unopposed for the three-year slots, so each member that sought a seat was successful.

One vote was cast for the United States — a write-in, though the United States withdrew from the council this year citing the incongruity in the fact that some members of the council are deemed violators of human rights themselves, and the stated mandate of the body is to monitor human rights.

Monica Grayley, the spokeswoman for UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, said the members vote by secret ballot, so she could not say which country cast a vote for the United States.

“Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN. “This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization and demonstrates again why the United States was right to withdraw from it earlier this year. The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible. More importantly, the United States will continue to be the world’s human rights leader regardless of the suspect composition and poor decisions of the Human Rights Council.”

The UN General Assembly itself acknowledges the glaring contradiction on its website, where it spells out the council’s duties including “launching fact-finding missions and establishing commissions of inquiry into specific situations.”

The group “meets three times a year to review the human rights records of all UN Member States, in a special process designed to give countries the chance to present the actions they have taken, and what they’ve done, to advance human rights.”

Author: Zachary R. Dowdy

Source: Newsday

The United Nations has caused controversy by appointing countries including Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philippines onto their Human Rights Council.

Bahrain, Cameroon, and the Philippines were among a number of nations controversially elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, sparking sharp criticism from rights groups and the United States.

Around a third of seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were open for slots lasting from 2019-2022. A 97-vote majority from the 193 nations that make up the UN’s General Assembly is needed for approval.

For the first time since the council was created in 2006, each voting region agreed in advance on 18 candidates to be in the running for 18 seats – removing any competition.

New members Bahrain, Cameroon, the Philippines, Somalia, Bangladesh and Eritrea were elected with between 160 and 178 votes – and immediately drew criticism from activists in Europe and North America dismissing them as “unqualified” due to their human rights records.

“By putting forward serious rights violators and presenting only as many candidates as seats available, the regional groups risk undermining the council’s credibility and effectiveness,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Louis Charbonneau, the group’s UN director, called the vote “ridiculous” and said on Twitter it “makes mockery of (the) word ‘election.’”

At the start of the voting session, the General Assembly’s president, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, noted that every member state is allowed to apply for a seat.

Her spokesman later declined to directly address the criticism, but instead noted: “It’s clear that the world expects that members of international bodies will abide to a certain set of standards of behavior consistent with the bodies they have been elected to.”

Five of the new members were from Africa, five from Asia, two from eastern Europe, three from Latin America and the Caribbean, and three from western Europe.

The United States pulled out of the council in June, calling the organization a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights,” in particular in regard to its stance on Israel.

Nikki Haley, who this week announced her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, said Friday’s vote demonstrates why the US was right to withdraw.

“Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested. This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization,” she said.

“The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible.”

Source: citizen.co.za

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