IFSW AFRICAN REGION ISSUES STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN CAMEROON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2018
CONTACT: Joachim Mumba IFSW Vice President African Region
GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE CAMEROON
We the Social Workers in the Africa Region are concerned with the gross human rights violations in both the Southern Cameroons and the Northern Provinces of Cameroon. We are concerned by not only because Cameroon is a member of the IFSW but largely because as the Federation and its national members we strive for social justice, human rights and the promotion of human dignity. There have been reports of extra-judicial execution of civilians, burning of more than 100 villages in Southern Cameroon. The on-going Anglophone crisis has brought on unbearable sufferings on the civilian population and has forced about 200,000 inhabitants to be internally displaced and live in bushes while about 160,000 are living in refugee camps in the neighboring Nigeria since the beginning of 2018. There have also been reports of many cases of arbitrary arrests, rape of women and children, abduction, detention and imprisonment incommunicado.
We, therefore, urge the African Union and other international organizations like the United Nations, European Union, Commonwealth, and Francophonie to urgently intervene and rescue the Southern Cameroonians from the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Cameroon military on innocent harmless civilians who have been slaughtered in cold blood, tortured and women raped in thousands.
We urge the African Union to intervene so that the regime of President Paul Biya should release all detainees and those imprisoned because of their political views and ensure freedom of expression and assembly. We are concerned about the loud silence of the world on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Cameroon. We hope and pray that Africa is not just about to witness another genocide.
Cameroon is a member of the Commonwealth and subscribed to the Charter of the Commonwealth which calls upon member states to uphold and promote the values and aspirations of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The same Charter expresses the commitment of its member states to the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth.
Based on these violations of the principles of the charter of the Commonwealth and other internationally subscribed human rights instruments and protocols, we demand that:
- Women and children who have suffered traumatic violations are assisted to seek rehabilitative professional services
- The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the UN Human Rights Commission and the Commonwealth joins the African Social Work fraternity in demanding for an independent inquiry into the systematic abuse of human rights that have occurred since the beginning of the crisis and the perpetrators are brought to justice.
- Cameroon be suspended from the Commonwealth until the government calls for genuine dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict.
- The Commonwealth uses its influence to ask President Paul Biya to personally address the ongoing crisis in Cameroon
- The United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) should take necessary steps in protecting the civilian population especially women and children in the Cameroon.