Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Press briefing notes on Cameroon
Press briefing: Cameroon
06 October 2017
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Date: 6 October 2017
We would like to reiterate the concern voiced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres about the violence in South-West and North-West Cameroon on 1 October, amid demonstrations by people from the country’s Anglophone community.
According to government figures, at least 10 people were killed on Sunday and credible sources indicated that some of these deaths resulted from excessive use of force by the security forces. We call on the Government of Cameroon to establish prompt, effective, impartial and independent investigations to ensure accountability.
Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have seen multiple strikes and demonstrations over the past year as resentment and tensions have built at what English-speakers see as discrimination against them in favour of the majority French-speaking population. In response, the Government deployed additional security and defence forces.
We urge the authorities to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and take measures to prevent the use of force when policing demonstrations. People should be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including through having uninterrupted access to the internet.
We call on all people to pursue peaceful means to make themselves heard. Over the past few months, public and private property has been damaged, and at least two homemade bombs are reported to have been planted in public places. There have also been arson attacks on a number of schools.
We urge the Government and Anglophone groups to engage in a meaningful political dialogue so that the grievances of the Anglophone population, which date back decades, can be fully addressed.
In that respect, we welcome the comments by President Paul Biya on Sunday in which he condemned all forms of violence, irrespective of the perpetrators, and called for dialogue as the only way to find a durable solution.