By Eric Tataw – Tuesday March 12, 2019.
Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization with headquarters in New York City, United States of America that conducts research and advocacy on Human Rights has urged the United Nations Security Council to take action in Cameroon, a Central African country trapped in an armed conflict.
According to Item four (4) on the General Debate of the organisation’s meeting and recommendations published on its website dated, Tuesday March 12, 2019, National Telegraph gathered that the organisation has stated categorically clear that; ” council should act on Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey, Cameroon and the Philippines.
On Cameroon, Human Rights Watch said; “Violence escalated in Cameroon after protests broke out in 2016, and the authorities responded with rampant rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture of detainees, extrajudicial executions, and the burning of homes and property.”
Cameroon’s case is probably most appalling of all in the 21st century owing to the fact that there’s almost a repeat of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, pundits have said. Many observers hold that the UN Security Council should have long intervened especially with numerous reports and online videos of gross Human Rights violations from the Cameroonian military.
Credible Human Rights groups on the ground like the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy of Agbor Nkongho Balla, an Anglophone Cameroonian Human Rights lawyer have published on-the-spot reports on gross Human Rights violation by the Cameroon military. Balla had published a long list of hundreds of villages torched by the Cameroon military.
Early Tuesday March 12, Nagy Tibor, a top United States diplomat serving as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa said “my heart breaks for Cameroon … I just don’t understand why this crisis goes on and on and on.”, he said while calling for “open, unlimited national dialogue.” and recommending that; “perhaps it’s time to take the deadly separatist crisis in Cameroon to an “international forum.”
Prior, in a letter dated Monday, March 11, 2019, Eliot Lance Engel, U.S. Representative for New York’s 16th congressional district and Chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Congress addressed to Tibor Nagy, Eliot called on the State Department to address troubling crackdowns on freedom of expression in Cameroon.
Unrest in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions began in October 2016 as a disagreement in language but government mismanaged it, turning it into a demand by Anglophone militias in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia. Gun battles have ensued and the government has been accused of numerous Human Rights violation, including targeted killings.
In Bahrain, the organisation says “Civic space in Bahrain has continued to shrink as prominent rights defenders, journalists and opposition leaders are harshly punished for rights activism or criticizing the authorities.”
In Egypt, police systematically use torture, arbitrary arrests, and enforced disappearances to silence political dissent under the guise of combating terrorism. Authorities are actively dismantling independent civil society through restrictive legislation, detaining journalists, censoring websites, and prosecuting rights defenders, the organisation says.
Meanwhile, in Turkey, Human Rights Watch states that, Turkey remains the world leader in jailing journalists with more than 180 reporters, writers, and media workers in pretrial detention facing terrorism charges.
Accountability for the tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s murderous “war on drugs” in the Philippines remains virtually non-existent, and repression of government critics and rights defenders continues to rise, it states.
According to the organisation, in none of these countries has the Council taken action to put in place monitoring and reporting or investigations. This failure is magnified when we recall that almost all of these countries are sitting Council members, meant to uphold the highest standards of Human Rights, the statement says.
Going forward, Human Rights Watch says “We call upon states to give these situations the response they deserve. The Council’s credibility depends on it, just as thousands of victims and survivors on the ground depend on this Council.”