President Paul Biya, 85, has led Cameroon since 1982.CreditLintao Zhang/Getty Images

U.S. State Dep’t nails Cameroon for poor Human Rights record

By Amos Fofung

President Paul Biya, 85, has led Cameroon since 1982.CreditLintao Zhang/Getty Images
President Paul Biya, 85, has led Cameroon since 1982.CreditLintao Zhang/Getty Images

The United States has chronicled a series of human rights violations said to have been committed in Cameroon by both separatist fighters and government security forces in the restive Anglophone regions that has for three years now been wrecked by civil protest.

Numerating the violations in its just released 2018 Human Rights report on Cameroon, the US Department of state observed that “the sociopolitical crisis that began in the Northwest and Southwest Regions in late 2016 over perceived marginalization developed into an armed conflict between government forces and separatist groups.”

“The conflict resulted in serious human rights violations and abuses by government forces and Anglophone separatists.”

The report recounts several instances of “arbitrary and unlawful killings by security forces as well as armed Anglophone separatists; forced disappearances by security forces, Boko Haram, and separatists; torture by security forces and Anglophone separatists; prolonged arbitrary detentions including of suspected Anglophone separatists by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions.”

“Arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; violence and harassment targeting journalists by government agents; periodic government restrictions on access to the internet; laws authorizing criminal libel; substantial interference with the right of peaceful assembly; refoulement of refugees and asylum seekers by the government; restrictions on political participation; violence against women, in part due to government inaction; unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers by Anglophone separatists…”

In the 45-page report published on its website, the state’s department noted that “violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI)persons, and criminalization of consensual same-sex relations; child labor, including forced child labor; and violations of workers’ rights” are contributing factors which sink Cameroon’s human rights ranking.

The report which did not fail to mention the recent crackdown on Prof. Maurice Kamto and supporters of his CRM political party also touched on the insecurity in the Northern regions of Cameroon.

Written by the U.S. Department of States’ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the annual report situates human rights situations the world over as seeks to rally government’s attention on the need to act so as to better its human rights statistics.

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