August 26, 2019
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), supported by the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR), has submitted a statement to the 42nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council seeking an end to catastrophic atrocities taking place in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
Since October 2016, Anglophones in Cameroon have been the target of extreme violence and persecution by the Cameroon government. There is evidence of human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity. A separatist movement has responded with violent acts against the State’s defence forces. Government officials and armed insurgency groups have reportedly perpetrated sexual assault, torture, and public humiliation of women and girls throughout Anglophone regions.
Other reported crimes against humanity in the Anglophone regions include murder and lethal force against civilian populations, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture of persons in State custody, and deportation and forcible transfer of Anglophone populations.
To date, approximately 500,000 civilians have been forcibly displaced. Many internally displaced persons have relocated to remote bush areas with inadequate access to food, potable water, clothing, basic hygiene, or medical assistance for resulting diseases, including dysentery and malaria.
“Cameroon is now one of the largest sources of displaced persons in the world,” explained Pearl Eliadis, Senior Fellow at the RWCHR and co-author of the report ‘Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe: Evidence of Human Rights Violations and Crimes Against Humanity.’ “The international community needs to work in solidarity to resolve this human rights crisis.”
“The gross human rights violations against unarmed civilians in the Anglophone Regions are horrendous,” added Felix Agbor Nkongho, Chair of the CHRDA and co-author of Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe. “There must be accountability for these egregious crimes,” urged Nkongho, a lawyer who was himself arbitrarily detained by Cameroon authorities from January to August 2017.