Oral statement, Minority Rights Group International
Human Rights Council – 39th Session
Geneva, Tuesday 18th September 2018
General Debate (item 4)
Speaker: Glenn Payot
Thank you Mister President,
MRG is alarmed by the current situation of the English-speaking minority living in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. The protests against structural discrimination faced by this linguistic minority, started two years ago by movements of teachers and lawyers, have been met by excessive use of force by the government of Cameroon, and have degenerated into armed violence. The situation has considerably worsened in the last year, with reports of extrajudicial killings by security forces, burning down of houses, arbitrary detention and torture, while armed groups have reportedly carried out kidnappings, killings of police officers and have torched schools. According to last month’s estimates from OCHA, close to 250 000 inhabitants from the region have been displaced, mainly women and girls, while over 20 000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria. Fears of a further deterioration of the situation and of heightened tension and violence in the run-up to the Presidential election next month are reportedly inducing more inhabitants from the Anglophone provinces to flee the region.
MRG calls on the government of Cameroon to investigate reports of human rights violations committed by security forces, to accede to the demand of the OHCHR for access to the region, and to work with human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unions and other civil society actors from the Anglophone regions with a view to address and remedy the structural discrimination, inequalities and marginalization in public and political life that have prompted the crisis.
I thank you.