Amnesty Int’l Demands Immediate Release of Consortium Leaders, Says Arrests Could Fan More Tension

Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla
Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla

By Amindeh Blaise Atabong, January 21, 2017

Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Human rights watch, Amnesty International has called on the Biya-led Government to “immediately and unconditionally release two civil society leaders arrested in the English-speaking part of the country.”

The demand for the release of Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, President and Secretary General of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) respectively, was made on January 20.

The UK-based global rights movement also called on Cameroon authorities to lift a ban imposed on the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC). The Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation had on January 17, 2017, outlawed the groups and their

Dr. Fontem A. Neba
Dr. Fontem A. Neba

activities.

“These two men have been arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression. This flagrant disregard for basic rights risks inflaming an already tense situation in the English-speaking region of the country and is clearly an attempt to muzzle dissent,” Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher said in a statement.

Going by Amnesty International, theworrying pattern of arbitrary arrests, detention and harassment of civil society members is entirely at odds with the international human rights law and standards that Cameroon has committed to uphold.”

 

On Thursday January 19, the African Bar Association (AFBA) also issued a statement, condemning the Government for the arrests and detention, describing it as “illegal.”

The continental outfit called on government to unconditionally release Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor and others, without further delay.

While calling on Government to return to the dialogue table, Elvis T. Enoh, Director of Information and Protocol of the African Bar Association, said the AFBA was willing and ready to assist the Government in dialogue.


 

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